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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

72. Later someone by the name of Musavi (who was Mr. Sahabi’s interrogator) arrived and began interrogating me. He threatened me and told me that he would do things to me that would make me forget about the past torture sessions. He belittled me and told me I was nothing more than a little sissy to them. He told me to either confess or stay in prison for another 10 years.

73. I was taken to the Revolutionary Court again. The meeting with my family took place here. I told my family that my TV confessions were extracted under duress, and that the interview was essentially a movie in which my interrogation team played the role of director and I merely acted out the predetermined script.

74. The Court secretary warned me to shut up, but I caused a raucous. All the court employees witnessed these events. They returned me to the detention facility. My interrogator approached me and told me that I had tried to be a hero and that I would spend many years in jail for pulling this stunt. He then presented me with my confession letter and several white sheets of paper (with the Revolutionary Court’s letterhead on them), and told me to write down the confessions which I claimed were false. I indicated all the [sections] which were taken by force. During detention I also wrote several letters to the judge in which I reminded him that they had extracted forced confessions from me in violation of the Criminal Code of Procedure. My complaints were intended to counteract the [effect] of the forced confessions.

75. I was held in solitary confinement in Prison 59 until December 6, 2001. I was released after posting a two hundred million toman bail. My family paid the two hundred million toman bail for my release in June 2001. Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court had issued the order for my release, but I remained in solitary confinement for an additional six months.

My Trial

76. My trial convened in 2005. I had requested an open court session and informed my lawyer that if my trial were closed I would refuse to defend myself. But Judge Haddad ordered a closed court session. My trial convened and I refused to put up a defense. The prosecutor relied on a 300 page charge sheet which included my confessions and documents provided by others against me. But the judge refused them because my complaints were well publicized and it was no longer possible to accept the legitimacy of my confessions.

77. Out of the 9 charges brought against me, Judge Haddad of Branch 26 of Revolutionary Court only approved two of them and rejected the rest. My charges included actions against the national security in an attempt to overthrow the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Muharibbih, conspiracy and collusion with several groups and individuals such as the Religious-Nationalists in an attempt to foment armed resistance against the regime (the bases for this charge were the student gatherings at the universities of Amir Kabir and Khorramabad), propaganda against the regime in favor of foreign groups, insulting the leaders and officials of the regime, publishing lies in an attempt to disturb the public mind, espionage and the transfer of [sensitive] information to foreign elements,5 inciting the armed forces to rebellion and insubordination.6 Judge Haddad merely accepted two of these charges: conspiracy and collusion pursuant to Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code and propaganda against the regime. He found me innocent of all remaining charges. I was given a 5 year discretionary sentence pursuant to the Article 610 charge, and a 1 year discretionary sentence in connection with the Article 500 charge (related to propaganda against the regime). In total I was condemned to 6 years in prison, but because I had already spent a year of this sentence in temporary detention I was sentenced to 5 years. The judge also deprived me of all my social and political rights during those five years in accordance with articles 18 and 19 [of the Islamic Penal Code].

5 The basis for this charge was unclear. I had a meeting with officials at the Canadian embassy regarding the elections for the Sixth Majlis. It was a very ordinary meeting. They wanted to know what changes the Sixth Majlis would make.

6 The basis for this charge was a letter sent by the public council of Tahkim-i Vahdat to the Revolutionary Guards requesting that the latter avoid entering the political fray. I was not responsible for this letter – the Tahkim-i Vahdat office was.

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Secret Prisons