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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

24. After the wave of protests against secret detention facilities in Iran, the regime established detention centers in Evin Prison: Sections A and B. These two facilities – Sections A and B (previously Section 325) and Section 209 of Evin operate outside the jurisdiction of the State Prisons Organization and are run by the IRGC and Ministry of Intelligence.

25. The regime no longer sees a need to rely on a separate and parallel system since the intelligence organizations have been working in unison for the past two years. It must be noted, however, that the Iranian regime does not see itself as bound to or limited by a particular system of rules, and is generally not restricted by the rule of law. Its policies change according to changing political needs. Under normal circumstances, the Ministry of Intelligence will assume a leadership role in intelligence-gathering operations, but if [in the future] the leadership of this ministry does not see eye to eye with the Supreme Leader the regime will once again rely on the PIA.

26. The first time I was arrested was by the Ministry of Intelligence, which first sent me to the Tawhid detention facility and then transferred me to the quarantine section of Evin Prison under the supervision of State Prisons Organization.

Arrest and Detention

The First Time

27. The first time I was arrested was by the Ministry of Intelligence in July 1996. I was kept at the Tawhid detention facility, which was one of Ministry of Intelligence’s main detention centers.

28. They had already arrested my friends and I expected that I would be next. I was in the office of the Islamic Students Association building at Amir Kabir University when an officer from the Protection Office2 came and said he wanted to talk to me. After we walked for a while, I realized that I was surrounded by several people. (Later they grabbed and arrested one of my student friends from the university dormitory.) They inconspicuously escorted me out the back entrance of the university so no one would notice. The person who initially summoned me was plain-clothed. They forced us in a car that was parked outside the university and blindfolded us as soon as we entered. Inside Tawhid they registered us and provided us with and prison uniforms. They threw me inside a solitary cell. The interrogations started two hours later.

2 The Protection Office (or Idarihyyih Hirasat) is the name of an intelligence organization that has offices in all government agencies and coordinates its activities with the Ministry of Intelligence. This organization, which operates under the guise of the Ministry of Intelligence, is responsible for protecting the security of all universities. The head of the Protection Office of the Ministry of Science is appointed by the Minister of Science, Research and Technology and confirmed by the Ministry of Intelligence. Every affiliate office has a security head who is appointed by the Ministry of Intelligence.

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Secret Prisons