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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

5. After serious protests erupted in 2002 in connection with the administration of secret prisons in Iran, the Revolutionary Guards also took over certain sections of Evin prison and administered their own wards there. The construction and administration of these wards by separate agencies caused a divide in jurisdictional authority within the prison. Parts of the prison remained under the administration of the State Prisons Organization, while other wards such as Section 209 are administered by the Ministry of Intelligence. Sections 325 and sections A and B fell under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards.

6.Sections 209 and 325 are closed security wards and no one other than the responsible officials [of the agencies in charge] are allowed to visit them. In 2001, when United Nations representative Louis Joinet came to Iran to meet with political prisoners, I was being detained in Section A (previously Section 325) under the authority of the Revolutionary Guards. But I was later transferred to the general ward of Evin prison, where I met with the UN representative.

Detention Facilities

7. According to law, detention facilities are places where the accused are held during the investigation and interrogation phases of a criminal investigation. The accused are often held in detention facilities if there is a danger that they may flee or that evidence may be lost. For example, a group of people who are accused of security-related crimes (most political activists are lumped into this category) will be arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and kept in detention facilities that are legally under the supervision of that ministry. Many political activists, journalists, individuals involved in political and civil movements, religious and ethnic minorities and even followers of sects that do not ideologically agree with the regime’s views are arrested and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence in detention facilities under its supervision.

8. Sometimes agents of the Intelligence Protection Office of the Revolutionary Guards and the Law Enforcement Forces also engage in such activities. It is common knowledge that the agents of the Intelligence Protection Office of the Revolutionary Guards regularly arrest opponents of the regime who are engaged in armed or political struggle outside the country (and that some of these operations are military in nature). These agents also arrest supporters of these movements inside the country and interrogate them inside their own detention facilities. The Revolutionary Guards justify the existence of these special detention facilities by referring to the organization’s founding principles, which require it to safeguard the Islamic Republic and goals of the Islamic Revolution. Of course, this justification does not have any legal significance pursuant to the Constitution or other established laws. Intelligence agencies such as the Intelligence Protection Office of the Revolutionary Guards, Intelligence Protection Office of the Law Enforcement Forces (or NAJA), Intelligence Protection Center of the Judiciary, Intelligence Protection Office of the Ministry of Defense and the Army, and other intelligence units affiliated with governmental organizations and ministries only have the authority to maintain special detention facilities for their own personnel. To the extent that personnel working for these agencies violate internal rules and regulations, the agency can detain and interrogate them. An example of this can be seen with respect to the military. The Army can detain soldiers accused of a crime in its special detention centers and surrender the individual to the judiciary of the Armed Forces after the end of the criminal investigation phase.

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Secret Prisons