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Witness Statement: Ensafali Hedayat

62. During the trial, I complained about several illegal interactions to the judge in my case. One of these was my arrest warrant. I argued in the court and said that according to the law the state should put forth compelling evidence against the accused, based upon which the judge must issue the arrest warrant. I challenged the judge to provide evidence justifying the issuing and extension of my arrest warrant on two occasions. The judge failed to respond. The judge’s ruling was not based on the rule of law. The law does not allow officers of the court to arrest individuals in order to search for a proper charge. The state must provide evidence, and the judge must issue an arrest warrant [based on the evidence]. Interrogators are not permitted to create a case file based on the information they extract during detention and later present it to the court as proof of the crime. Similarly, the court is not allowed to convict and punish the accused based solely upon the allegations of the state, and without reason and evidence. For example, once I was very troubled by the crying and pleading that I could hear from my solitary cell. I told my interrogators that I would answer their questions if they let me go home. They agreed. I answered their questions and they took me home that night. Then the interrogators used those same answers that were obtained under conditions of terror and pressure as evidence against me in the court. This despite the fact that I hadn’t even confessed against anyone, including myself. This is why they (the Ministry of Intelligence and the judge) did not have a shred of evidence – not even my own confessions – to present during the open court session. In the end, the judge only accepted 4 of the 18 charges, which included propaganda against the regime, insulting Khamenei, inciting the people to riot against the police and participating in the second conference of the United Republicans in Berlin. I was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

63. I spent 9 months in prison. According to Iranian law, if an accused who is imprisoned for the first time has already served half his prison sentence and has not created trouble inside prison, he can be placed under “conditional release” and freed. After spending nine months in prison, I asked the judge to set aside half of my prison sentence pursuant to the law and release me. He refused. Instead he placed a precondition on my conditional release. He wanted me to write a confession letter. I refused and told them that if they wanted to stop me from writing in the future they must legally forbid me from doing so. If I can’t write, what can I do? Agreeing to write a confession letter means that after all this time, I will voluntarily accept guilt and ask the court’s forgiveness. But this is not right – I was not guilty even under Iranian law. I was illegally arrested, interrogated, detained, put in solitary confinement, tortured [both physically and] psychologically, and tried and convicted without any proof. I suffered from bleeding for four and a half months and endured severe physical pain. I endured this pain because I was not guilty. If I confess now, all of my efforts would be for naught, and [they] would be proven right. I have also written these sentiments in a letter that I snuck out of prison and published. The letter is available on the internet.

64. After my release, I first issued a complaint in the military and public prosecutor’s offices in East Azerbaijan against the Law Enforcement Forces and plainclothes agents who beaten me. I submitted a complaint against the Law Enforcement Forces in the public court because there was a possibility that the police would claim (in the military court) that the plainclothes agents who attacked me were not in fact members of NAJA. Ninety percent of the plainclothes agents who attacked us belonged to the police cadre of Amaken, the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Law Enforcement Forces, and the police’s anti-drug office. The remaining ten percent were composed of Revolutionary Guards and Basij affiliated to various offices and factories.

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Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Travel Restrictions