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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

54. The physical torture included beatings. They kicked my back and ribs. For example, during the interrogations there would suddenly be two or three people punching and kicking my head from behind. One day I was sitting on a chair when one of my interrogators, Sabeti, kicked me on the side. When I fell to the ground they lifted me from my hair and continued with the interrogation.

55. Psychological torture was extremely severe. They threatened to arrest and torture my family members and said that they will arrest my dad, sister and friends. Once they announced my arrest warrant. One of my interrogators who was playing the role of the bad cop said that I should get ready to be executed. He took me out of the cell and dragged me to the courtyard of Evin Prison so that he could carry out the execution. At the same time, I heard another interrogator (who played the role of the good cop) beg the judges on the phone to show mercy on me. Then someone else said, “No, that’s not possible. The execution has to be carried out.” Again the interrogator who played the role of good cop approached the bad cop and asked him to show mercy on me. And again the bad cop said, “No, this guy is a lost cause.” Then the good cop came to me and begged me to think about my parents and confess – otherwise I would be executed by firing squad. The back and forth between the two interrogators lasted half an hour. I was completely broken. This mock execution was the first real [psychological] blow that made me vulnerable.

56. After this event I decided to cooperate with them. But they wanted me to confess to horrible things – things that would facilitate my execution. For example, they wanted me to say that the Tahkim Vahdat office had a munitions room, or that I intended to assassinate the governor of Khorramabad. They also wanted me to falsely testify against certain individuals. I refused.

57. Later they laid me on a bed, tied my hands to it and pretended that they wanted whip me with cable wires. They showed me the cables. I felt like a lonely and vulnerable child who had lost his parents and was left among a group of strangers. I surrendered out of fear that I may be forced to confess to grave crimes, especially in connection with others. As a result, I accepted some of their allegations regarding the smuggling of Molotov cocktails in the university dormitories. They then untied me from the bed.

58. I was not whipped with cable wires, but was constantly reminded that it would happen.

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Secret Prisons