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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

46. They wrapped me in a blanket at 9 o’clock and put me in a car. I was blindfolded. The car circled around, and since I hadn’t slept at night for a week, I vomited in the car. Eventually, that afternoon at 3 or 4 p.m., they took me to Prison 59 at Eshratabad, which was under Sipah’s supervision. I didn’t know anything about this prison previous to that point. I gathered information about Prison 59 later.

47. I was very sick when I entered Prison 59. The prison was stuffy and hot. They registered me in the yard while I was blindfolded and threw me in a solitary cell. They brought me food. Early in the evening they took me to the interrogation room. I heard a lot of noise before that. [Upon entering], my interrogator’s first sentence to me described the difference between this facility and the previous prisons [in which I was detained]. My interrogator told me that “[Prison 59] isn’t like the other prisons [you have been to]. You will not be pampered here. Do as you’re told or die.” My interrogators asked questions unrelated to my charges, and I complained. The beatings started. There were two of them. They punched and kicked my head and sides. By this time the parallel intelligence apparatus had already been formed. One of my interrogators engaged in a philosophical discussion with me. He wanted to prove his amazing knowledge of philosophy. The interrogator asked whether actions are inherently motivated good or bad, or whether it is one’s perception and behavior that defines the nature of these actions. I was familiar with such discussions. The interrogator couldn’t compete with me, so he resorted to violence. Then the other interrogator changed the subject and said that we’ve become tools of the Americans and are working to overthrow the Islamic Republic. He said I have two options: one ends at Beheshte Zahra (the name of a well-known graveyard in Tehran), and the other results in my surrender. He repeated my charges and said that I am guilty of treason and that I had insulted the Supreme Leader. I didn’t accept either charge. Two large interrogators approached me. I was blindfolded and my interrogators threatened and said that I am nothing more than a sissy; that I am nothing to them. They told me that here big shots like Kianouri and others had confessed and that I wouldn’t last long.

48. From that night onward the sleep deprivation began, continuing until the morning hours. Sahabi and I were in that prison at the same time. The solitary cells were very humid and stuffy. This prison had about 30 to 34 cells, 10 of which were used for interrogations. One of the interrogation rooms was larger than the rest. They interrogation rooms were usually cold. Since I didn’t wear anything other than the prison clothes, I often felt cold during the course of the interrogations.

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Secret Prisons