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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

49. The interrogation questions didn’t just cover my two charges. They also questioned my beliefs and ideas. They told me to give them my views about the reformists and describe my (and the other students’) positions regarding current events. Or they asked what I thought about the Chain Murders. They always had their own preconceived notions and ideas, and wanted to force them on me. For example, they said that the students had Molotov cocktails at the university dormitories and that they used them against the Law Enforcement Forces and the Revolutionary Guards. I resisted and tried not to give in.

50. In this prison, sleep deprivation was practiced severely and extensively. Loud cursing was commonplace. Once they kept me up for four consecutive nights. Sleep deprivation and the lack of proper food had completely disabled me. Sleep deprivation was such that they kept me standing all the time. As soon as I would fall asleep someone would pull my hair and lift me up and make me stand. I was dizzy and confused. I was completely disoriented. During this time, one of the interrogators came and began to describe different forms of torture, including beatings and sexual assault. For example, he would whisper in my ear that in case I didn’t surrender and confess, they would rape me. Then he started to describe how they would do it. He said that they would insert a bottle in my anus, or hang me from the ceiling by my head and whip me until I’m close to death. Or he’d tell me that they will pull out my finger nails and toe nails and keep me in prison for 20 years. They created a very horrifying environment for me. They did all this after they deprived me of sleep and increased the interrogation sessions in an attempt to break me. They wanted me to confess to serious charges and accept their version of what happened. I stayed in that prison for a month.

51. I had one head interrogator and three regular ones. The head interrogator was called Ta’ib. One time during an interrogation Ta’ib slapped me hard. I’ll never forget that blow. Ta’ib previously worked for the Ministry of Intelligence, but was kicked out for his bad behavior and had joined the PIA. It was rumored that he had in fact been expelled for wiretapping Hashemi Rafsanjani’s residence.

52. After a month they returned me to Evin again. I was transferred to a cell in Section 240, which was underground and was equipped with a bathroom. It was cold – Evin is located close to the mountains and the area is usually colder than other parts of Tehran. Evin’s basement was particularly cold. They had given me just one blanket and the prison outfit I had was [made of] very thin [material]. I felt extremely cold.

53. During this time the violent encounters (insults, sleep deprivation, beatings, etc.) were very common. The guard would not allow me to cover my head with the blanket. When I entered the cell the guard made me put my hands behind my neck and stand facing the wall until he had a chance to bring me food and leave. He watched me all the time. I was never at peace. During the day I could not sleep because it was too cold, and during the evening I was forced respond to my interrogators’ threatening questions. The sleep deprivation had totally destroyed me. The interrogations took place in the same building where they used to take me before transferring me to Prison 59.

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Secret Prisons