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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

40. I was in the public section of Evin Prison for 10 days along with Mr. Sahabi, but was transferred to the solitary confinement ward in Section 240 after about a week. Then the interrogations were different this time around. My eyes were always closed during interrogation sessions. The insults, threats and curses were worse and more obscene. They threatened that they would investigate every aspect of my life and “make me pay.”

41. The interrogators first informed me of my charges. They alleged that I had insulted the Supreme Leader during my speech in Amir Kabir University, and that I had propagandized against the regime. I agreed to respond only to those questions related to these two charges. But they proceeded to ask me unrelated questions to which I refused to respond.

42. The first two days of interrogation were in Section 240, but the third interrogation took place in Evin Prison’s third building (which did not have a particular name but was located near the quarantine ward and later became a part of Ward A under the supervision of the IRGC).

43. From that point on the interrogations were accompanied by sleep deprivation. My interrogators wanted me to apologize to the Supreme Leader and ask for forgiveness from the head of the Ministry of Justice. They also wanted me to respond to questions about charges for which I had already been convicted and spent time in prison.

44. This time the interrogations were accompanied by violence, insults and intimidations. Once an interrogator got tired of asking questions he was replaced by another one. They forced me to stand and face a wall while blindfolded. I felt sick, but they were not concerned in the least. They threatened that if I did not give into their demands they would send me to the “Dungeon of Ghosts.” “Dungeon of Ghosts” was a reference to the group responsible for carrying out the Chain Murders. My interrogators explicitly told me that that if I were sent to the “Dungeon of Ghosts” I would never return alive. They advised me to admit to the charge of attempting to overthrow the government or I would remain in prison and rot.

45. The interrogations promptly started at sundown. At dawn they returned me to my cell, only to be taken back for interrogations again at night. My interrogators constantly played the role of good cop and bad cop. One of them constantly threatened to beat me and torture me, but the other interrogator would prevent him from doing so and asked me to cooperate. They played their roles. One of them made big promises, while the other threatened and accused me of serious crimes such as the attempted overthrow of the government or the stockpiling of arms. The good cop told me that I was a capable man and that if I cooperated I would be appointed to leadership roles in important government agencies such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and that I could have a good life and a bright future. He also told me that if the regime is attacked it will fall apart. I was shocked. I thought there was a coup d’etat. My interrogators indicated that some of Khatami’s ministers had been arrested. They insulted him. I thought that perhaps the country had gone through big changes during my detention, and that I was unaware of these changes. It was during one of these long evening interrogation sessions that one of my interrogators threateningly informed me that I have one hour to decide whether I would cooperate with them or go to hell.

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Secret Prisons