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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

59. I endured these harsh conditions for a month and a half. Every day the physical and psychological pressure got worse, and their demands increased. I resisted and tried to preserve my dignity, but I was also aware that they were committed to breaking me and forcing me to confess about the activities of others. I couldn’t take it anymore. I gave in and confessed.

60. They forced me to confess to lies. After I surrendered I stayed in Evin for another week. A week after that they once again took me to Prison 59. The number of detainees had increased from the last time I was there. A month passed. Judge Haddad came to visit me again. He took off my blindfold. I told him that my confessions were lies and that they were obtained under duress and torture. Judge Haddad left and the horrible encounters started anew. My interrogators were bent on securing more false confessions out of me, especially regarding others. I could no longer resist, but I decided it would be better to give them information about myself rather than others. I was worried that if I continued resisting I would eventually be forced to provide false confessions about others. It was this fear that forced me to agree to a televised confession.

61. The interrogators and I came to an agreement on several key points regarding my staged television interview. The first was that my confessions would only involve me and my activities. And the second was that my confessions would take place in front of a camera. I agreed. From this point on my interrogations turned into bargaining sessions between me and my captors regarding the text of my confession letter.

62. My interrogators wanted me to talk about the following issues: First, that the student movement had deviated and is engaged in illegal political and destructive activities against the regime. I argued that this was not the case, but my arguments made things more difficult and prompted the interrogator to increase his pressure on me. Second, that the student movement was under the leadership of the reformists and took orders from them, and that it was fighting to fulfill the reformists’ plan to take over. Obviously, this was not true. But the interrogators wanted me to reflect their opinions, in my own words, in front of the camera. Third, they wanted me to acknowledge that I was manipulated due to my lack of experience and youth, and that I now know that my actions were wrong.

63. I told them that the issues [above] were not true, but they disagreed. Eventually the text of my interview was finalized after several exchanges between me and my interrogators. My interrogators submitted the text to a committee called the “Experts Committee” (I don’t know who belonged to this committee, but I am certain that the many of the leaders of the PIA were its members). The committee made changes to the text and returned it to my interrogators. My interrogators then demanded that I incorporate the changes made by the committee. This back and forth went on for a while until the text was finalized.

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Secret Prisons