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Witness Statement: Ensafali Hedayat

28. During the first day I paid little attention to my diarrhea. But on the second night in Police Station 15 I realized that I had bloody stool and was bleeding profusely. At my request, the police offers contacted their superiors at the Intelligence Protection Organization office of the Law Enforcement Forces several times. Around 12 midnight a kind and gentle guard by the name of Seyyed took me (along with Ebrahimi) to the Kosar infirmary, which belonged to the Law Enforcement Forces. When the doctor examined me he asked what I did for a living. I said I am a journalist. He didn’t believe me. I had been tortured so much that I no longer resembled a journalist. After examination the doctor administered a shot and gave me a prescription for two different kinds of medications. A while later I felt better. Until that moment (from the police station to the infirmary) I hadn’t been handcuffed.

29. After I was arrested, my family contacted various police stations and detention centers to obtain information regarding my whereabouts. However, each time, the authorities told them that no one matching my description has been detained. After two days, I was able to notify my family (with the assistance of a guard) that I was being detained at NAJA’s intelligence office on Saeb Avenue in Tabriz. My family contacted other journalists and asked them to pressure Eini Baher, the Police commander of East Azerbaijan, to give them permission to visit and interview me, or at the very least to allow my family to visit me. As a result of these pressures they were able to gain permission to visit me from the police commander of East Azerbaijan.

30. It was around 6:30 p.m. on the third day of my arrest when the guard came, told me that I had a visitor and gave me permission to leave my solitary cell. He refused to give me my glasses. My family – mother, wife and older daughter – were waiting for me inside the yard of the Tabriz passport office (which was affiliated with the Intelligence Protection Organization office of the Law Enforcement Forces). My face was all bruised up and my clothes were still blood stained. I looked completely different, and my family couldn’t recognize me. I said hello. My family recognized my voice, and we embraced. I assured my mother that I had only beaten during my initial arrest and transfer to this facility – that I hadn’t been abused in detention. But I also told them that I was afraid and extremely worried that they would abuse me. I told them that I feared for my life, that they may kill me. I told my mother to go and give interviews to foreign media, to describe the condition I’m in. The supervising guard became uncomfortable with our discussions and terminated the meeting. When we entered the yard of the Intelligence Protection Organization office and before he could blindfold me, I recognized several of my plainclothes attackers. I was terrified. I didn’t expect them to be here. I couldn’t hide my fear. My hands were tied – theirs were not. They were interrogators and plainclothes police. They had already beaten me and claimed that I was the one who had attacked them. No one believed me.

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Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Travel Restrictions