Home | English | Publications | Witness Testimony | Witness Statement: Ensafali Hedayat

Witness Statement: Ensafali Hedayat

12. Mr. Khatami’s presidency was marked by factional in-fighting between two groups. Those who had been removed from power allied themselves with more genuine reformist groups who opposed the regime, and worked to expose evidence regarding events and violent interrogations linked with the Chain Murders. You will note that after regaining power, the reformists made no attempt to investigate and discuss the political killings, silencing of dissidents and massacre of political prisoners that marked the period of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s (and the years before that). Reformists linked to the government remained silent on these issues. For these and other reasons, the reformists failed to investigate and talk about the existence of secret prisons in areas such as Kurdistan, Sistan and Baluchistan, Khuzestan, Azerbaijan and others.

13. The Sixth Majlis, which was under the control of the reformists, established an investigative committee to look into the events surrounding the Tehran University dormitory and Tabriz University. This committee announced the results of its investigation following the Tehran University dormitory incidents. Regarding the events surrounding Tabriz University, however, the committee remained silent despite the fact that what happened there amounted to a tragedy that involved acts such as murder and sexual assault. The central authorities in Tehran have always adopted a discriminatory approach towards serious issues which occur outside the Persian-speaking areas of the country. This approach is to some extent understandable because on the one hand Tabriz is not located in a Persianspeaking area, and on the other the hand high-ranking reformists (including the head of security, governor-general and governor) ran the provincial government.

The Parallel Intelligence Apparatus

14. Now I’d like to talk briefly about several issues linked to the parallel intelligence apparatus (PIA).

15. The first issue is that prior to the establishment of the PIA, the Majlis engaged in a theoretical debate regarding the extent to which the government was accountable to its citizens. According to [some] in this debate, accountability is a fundamental religious responsibility of an Islamic government, and the people request accountability and launch investigations into the activities of all government agencies, including the Ministry of Intelligence. [In other words,] if the government is accountable, then so is Khatami and the Ministry of Intelligence. And if the Ministry of Intelligence is accountable, then so is the Supreme Leader (since pursuant to the Constitution the head of this ministry must be a cleric who is confirmed by the Office of the Supreme Leader, and the President has little say in the selection process). At the same time, this debate [was raging in the Majlis], Ayatollah Shahroudi – the head of the Judiciary – spoke of the existence of secret detention facilities outside the jurisdiction of the State Prisons Organization (SPO), and issued a 15-point directive protecting the citizens rights of arrestees. The Sixth Majlis adopted this directive and passed it as the Citizens Rights Law. Up until this point, most journalists, writers and dissidents had been arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Law Enforcement Forces. But after [the Sixth Majlis began to address these issues in a more serious fashion], the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Law Enforcement Forces, and the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Prosecutor’s Office (which had recently been established) began to get more involved in arrests and political prosecutions [against the reformists]. This is because these agencies lay outside the control of the [Presidency], and Majlis could not investigate and scrutinize their activities. These agencies are not accountable to the nation and its people – they are directly under the control of and solely responsible to the Office of the Supreme Leader. When these agencies increased their activities and became more openly involved in the issues referenced above, they became known as the “PIA.” The intelligence operations and arrests executed [by these agencies] were, in effect, designed to insulate the Supreme Leader from accountability to the people or the Majlis. During this time, I was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence. When I was arrested, the ministry agents told me that I should actually be indebted to them and that they had done me a favor. This was their indirect acknowledgement of the existence of the PIA – they were suggesting that by arresting me they had saved me from the PIA (which [they alleged] was largely controlled by the reformists).

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 »
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Travel Restrictions