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Witness Statement: Ensafali Hedayat

43. At night my name was on a list of those who were going to go in front of the judge to be released. Just as before I couldn’t sleep that night. At least the other nights I was able to sleep for two or so hours. This time I couldn’t sleep for even a minute. At 7 a.m. on July 13th they took me to the Ministry of Justice in a minibus and finally released me.

44. While in prison I requested to be seen by a medical examiner several times – from the time the judges came to inspect the General Prison in Tabriz. But the police and judge did not allow me to see the examiner. Instead, they detained me and the students and arrestees until any and all the signs of physical abuse had disappeared and were no longer visible. After my release I refused to see go to a medical examiner for several reasons. The first was that my injuries had, to a certain extent, healed. The second was that the medical examiner was affiliated with the police and often cooperated with intelligence forces in Iran, so I didn’t trust its impartiality. The third was that I had asked the judge to allow me to see a medical examiner, but he refused. It was clear that they didn’t want to see me. The fourth was that the courts or law enforcement are required to send plaintiffs for examination to the medical examiner. They had not, and I didn’t think I’d be able to gain access by myself. In the beginning I insisted on being seen by the medical examiner because the signs of physical abuse were visible. The medical examiner could not [avoid the obvious] and issue a false report. But after my wounds had healed there was a possibility that the examiner would issue an inaccurate report. Regardless, I have three documents proving that I had been tortured by the intelligence forces of the Law Enforcement Forces. One of these is of a photograph taken by police intelligence during the first day of my arrest. The second is another photo taken on the third day when I was at the Tabriz prison. [Finally], the third was a photo taken at the Ministry of Intelligence office in Tabriz which definitely shows signs of torture. All three of these photographs showed signs of abuse including bruising in or around the head, ears, eyes and face.

My Second Arrest

45. After 6 months, I went to prison for the second time. It must be noted that prior to this I had been threatened several times by Colonel Roustai in connection with my first arrest. Colonel Roustai told me to leave Tabriz. During the beatings that occurred in the police station close to the Tabriz University, he told me “that if I didn’t leave [Tabriz], [he] would cut my balls off.” I indicated this in the extensive letter I wrote to Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, in which I mentioned that I am a journalist and that I’d like to continue to stay in the city of my birth. Despite these threats, I stayed in Tabriz and continued my work as a journalist. But every so often, I would be interrogated by the intelligence agency of NAJA. They referred to these interrogations as “friendly encounters.” These friendly encounters were intended to be mutually beneficial. I had the phone number of the intelligence office’s director, and if I ever encountered any security problems I could contact him. But I never called him – instead he would often call me and tell me that he wanted to see me for lunch. I would then go to see him and he would ask me questions about my work and activities.

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Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Travel Restrictions