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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

15. Next, the chain murders happened. The regime announced that rogue elements in the Ministry of Intelligence were responsible for these murders. This change provoked the reformists and deepened the gap between the Ministry of Intelligence, the Supreme Leader and the Judiciary.

16. As a response to the actions of the reformists, the Judiciary began a widespread campaign to shut down newspapers. It also arrested and tried Akbar Ganji, Emad Baqi, me and several others for participating in the Berlin Conference. For the first time, the Judiciary began to rely on personnel from the Intelligence Protection Office of the Law Enforcement Forces and the Revolutionary Guards for arresting the accused. Instead of using the Ministry of Intelligence as it did before, the Judiciary turned to security channels that were [ideologically] closer to it. For example, they started using Section 240 of Evin for interrogating and obtaining confessions from the accused. Baqi, Ganji and I, who were among the participants of the Berlin Conference, spent some time being interrogated in these solitary cells at Evin Prison.

How were the Parallel Intelligence Apparatus Formed?

17. The third phase of this development occurred with the establishment of the Parallel Intelligence Apparatus (PIA). The PIA is an unofficial, unlawful organization that was established by conservatives to oppose the reformists. Its goal was to silence reformist demands in Iran. Khamenei, who was disappointed in the failure of the Ministry of Intelligence to put an end to the reform period, called for the establishment of the PIA. This intelligence group includes other intelligence organizations such as Intelligence Protection Office of the IRGC, the Intelligence Protection Center of the Judiciary, the Intelligence Protection Office of the Supreme Leader, the Intelligence Protection Office of Law Enforcement Forces, the Intelligence Protection Office of the Army and expelled conservative members of the Ministry of Intelligence. The PIA worked directly under the supervision of the Supreme Leader, and its numerous and scattered components were brought together and coordinated by him. The leading members of these intelligence organizations consulted with each other, and decisions were made pursuant to a general strategy aimed at defeating the reform movement. Responsibility for executing this strategy was given to the intelligence organization best suited to implement the plan.

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Secret Prisons