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Witness Statement: Ensafali Hedayat

31. A few days after I and the other arrested and detained students had been transferred to the central prison in Tabriz, we were taken to the solitary cells of the Ministry of Intelligence, located in Baghshomal, in order to be interrogated. I remained there for about 17 to 18 days, during which I was asked questions about all sorts of topics. I answered their questions, most of which involved my contacts with foreign radio stations and the content of my news reports and had little to do with the charges the police had brought against me.

32. Three days later – around 3:30 a.m. on June 19, 2003 – they transferred me and 64 other detainees to Tabriz prison in a minibus. They gave us prisoner uniforms. Before noon they separated me from the students and young men who had been similarly charged. The others were sent to solitary cells in two different wards: one for “children” and the other for “youth.” The [guards] were told to provide me with a newspaper, books and a radio, and instructed to allow me to visit the yard in order to get fresh air or go to the bathroom whenever I wished. When this happened, the “youth” and “children” were required to return to their wards – no one was allowed to see me.

33. Here the guards treated me with lots of respect. Every evening at around midnight they allowed me to go out and get a breath of fresh air. I wrote lots of articles while I was detained there. I managed to secretly send some of them to my family.

34. I was not interrogated while in solitary confinement at the general prison in Tabriz. One time several Judiciary officials came to inspect the prison, but facility officials hid me in the infirmary and prevented the judge from seeing me. My guess is that they did this because I was still pretty badly bruised. But Judge Abizadeh [was looking for me] and since he couldn’t find me in my solitary cell he asked where I was. He found me in the infirmary.

35. About ten days later at around 5:30 in the afternoon on June 29, 2003, they came to visit me again. I was afraid that I would be beaten and tortured again. The guard told me that I had an escort. I said, “To where?” He replied, “To the Judge.” The patrol vehicle exited the facility. We (me and the several other students who were also in the vehicle) passed the prosecutor’s office. As soon as we turned toward Baghshomal, they pulled our prison shirts over our heads and told us to get down. We got out of the cards in the yard, entered a building and sent each of us to solitary cells. This was an intelligence office run by the Ministry of Intelligence in East Azerbaijan. Here they blindfolded us with a piece of cloth (which they referred to as “glasses”).

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Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Travel Restrictions