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Witness Statement: Ali Afshari

34. I was charged with participating in the Berlin Conference. The interrogations all took place in Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court. I was not blindfolded. My interrogators charged me with attempted overthrow of the government and antirevolutionary acts. They also questioned some of my student activities.

35. The tone of the interrogators was insulting and intimidating. They interrogated me from morning to night. Sometimes in order to punish me they sent me to a glass room that became unbearably hot and stuffy as a result of direct sunlight. The interrogations sometimes lasted seven to eight hours.

36. The third time I stayed in prison for less than two months and was released after posting fifty million toman bail. My trial was open to the public and I defended myself. I was charged under Articles 4583 and 5004 of the Islamic Penal Code.

37. The judge in my first trial considered both my charges valid and sentenced me to 5 years in prison. This sentence was reduced by one year in the appeals court and I served my time in prison.

The Fourth Time

38. I was again interrogated in November-December 2000 by Judge Haddad of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court. Judge Haddad was a prominent and influential figure connected to the PIA. Haddad had sent a summons to my home approximately ten days after a speech I gave during a student gathering at Amir Kabir University. During the speech I had criticized the Supreme Leader. Just like before, the summons requested that I go to Branch 26 in order to explain my activities.

39. Judge Haddad carried out the interrogation process. He played a tape of my speech from the beginning and gently asked questions. He said that I had insulted the position of the Supreme Leader and [falsely] accused the Minister of Justice. The Judge argued with me and I provided the reasons for my position. He said that I was extremely opinionated and that I shouldn’t be so radical as to offend others and create trouble for myself. The second question and answer session between Judge Haddad and myself was similar to the first. During the third session (at which Mr. Sahabi was also present), Judge Haddad was not present and his assistant took the responsibility of interrogating us. He then signed and issued my temporary arrest warrant and I was sent to prison.

3 Article 458 addresses the establishment of a political or military group with intent to jeopardize national security.

4 Article 500 addresses propaganda and lies against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Secret Prisons