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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

29. I was not roughed up at Tawhid this time around. My interrogators yelled, cursed, and kept me up for hours, but the sleep deprivation did not reach the point of torture yet. The interrogators intimidated, insulted and cursed me repeatedly. They called me stupid, retard, imbecile, idiot, etc.

30. I was accused of creating turmoil among the masses and acting against the national security. My interrogators claimed that I was infiltrating the student movement on behalf of the reformists. This accusation was based on the fact that the clashes between the Polytechnic (Amir Kabir University) students and Ansar-i Hizbollah coincided with the opening of the railroad project between Sarakhs and Tajan. These clashes between students and Ansar-i Hizbullah occurred as a result of a speech that was being given by Abdol-Karim Soroush at the university, which just so happened to be on the same day the government wished to publicize the Sarakhs-Tajan railroad project. My interrogators alleged that the clashes were pre-planned, and that our group was under the influence of a person who was in contact with Mujahidin-i-Khalq organization and wished to undermine the government’s [commemoration of the project]. They asked me to officially apologize to the authorities. In addition, my interrogators wanted me to confess to the structural links [between our group] and the reform movement. I resisted because all of these charges were false and unfounded. My interrogators threatened me and said that if I did not confess I would stay in prison for years. But I didn’t give in.

31. The judge assigned to my case was Judge Moqaddas, who was in charge of Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Courts. The judge was also the head interrogator. They took us to Judge Moqaddas (of Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court) on the 10th day [of my arrest] and a discussion ensued between me, my friend Ali Reza Siasirad and the Judge wherein he insulted Shariati and Bazargan. The Judge claimed that Shariati and Bazargan were the founders of a deviant religion. We rejected the idea and defended them. The Judge got annoyed and said that we hadn’t learned our lesson. He ordered that we be taken to the quarantine ward of Evin Prison. I was in Evin for one night. The next day we were taken back to court. We didn’t argue and were released on five million toman bail. My trial never convened and my case remains open.

The Second Time

32. I was arrested by the Ministry of Justice two nights before the 1997 presidential elections. I was charged with using a government facility in support of one of the presidential candidates, Khatami. They took me to the basement of the Ministry of Justice. I was released after two days..

The Third Time

33. The third time I was imprisoned after [participating in] the Berlin Conference. Judge Moqaddas summoned me to Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court yet again. The summons stated that I should appear in court to explain some of my activities. As soon as I went the questioning started. Judge Moqaddas issued my arrest warrant in his office, after which I was immediately placed under arrest. They sent me to Section 240 of Evin Prison. I spent 19 days in solitary confinement at Evin and 35 days in the special clerical ward of Evin Prison.

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