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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

18. At this point, conservatives within the regime began to [suspect the possibility of] a “silent overthrow.” This coincided with a period wherein the media had gained more freedom, the student movement had grown stronger and reformist demands had intensified within civil society. Ezatollah Sahabi and I were arrested by the PIA during November 2000.

19. After the formation of the PIA the encounters started. The first encounter involved the Religious-Nationalists; the second the webloggers; and the third involved Siamak Pourzand, which was known as the “artists’ project” and was implemented by the Amaken Office. The PIA worked on project-to-project basis, acted outside the scope of the Ministry of Intelligence and carried its projects under the supervision of the Judiciary.

20. Each of the organizations included in the PIA administered its own detention facilities. For example, detention centers 59, Vali Asr and 66 (Afsariyih) belonged to the IRGC; detention centers Jay located close to Mehrabad Airport, and 36 (Jamshidiyih) and Hishmatiyih were connected with the Intelligence Protection Office of the Army; detention centers Amaken, Mullasadra, Vuzara and Tupkhanih were under the supervision of the Intelligence Protection Office of the Law Enforcement Forces; detention centers Tawhid and Section 209 of Evin Prison belonged to the Ministry of Intelligence. From 2000 to 2003, a great number of reformists were persecuted in these detention facilities, and suffered various forms of physical and psychological torture.

21.The PIA also had other detention facilities, such as Khatam-ul-Anbia and ward A of Section 325 of Evin Prison, which was the most modern detention facility built in the Middle East. These detention facilities are not controlled by the State Prisons Organization.

22. In addition, the PIA used military detention centers for non-military purposes. An example of this is detention facility “Jay,” which is actually used for military affairs and is better equipped than the other facilities [discussed above]. I was held in this facility for 19 days, between late March and early April 2001. I was always blindfolded. I had a blindfold every time I was escorted somewhere by a guard. [This practice] was incredibly troubling for me. I will talk more about this later.

23. The Ministry of Intelligence also has its own special detention centers that are often located in private residences. The Ministry uses these houses on a case-bycase basis. Therefore, it can be said that the Ministry of Intelligence’s policy of using these houses as detention facilities depends on the specific case at issue.

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Secret Prisons