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Witness Statement: Arash Sigarchi

38. Another charge was “propaganda activities against the regime.” The interrogator noted that in my blog I had written that ‘Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt, had “put [Iran] to shame.’” He was referring to an article that I had written about Hosni Mubarak giving general amnesty to all the prisoners in August of 2003. I had written that Iran should learn from him. The regime’s position is that Mubarak is a dictator and his elections are a formality since he gets 100% of the votes. But I believed that Iran must learn from Mubarak’s actions. Why did we have political prisoners? At this time Mashallah Shamsolvaezin and Emadeddin Baghi were in prison. They told me that what I had written was propaganda against the regime.

39. There were a lot of other charges but the one that took up most of our time was in connection with interviews I had conducted with RadioFarda under my pseudonym. They accused me of being a CIA spy and collaborating with RadioFarda. They claimed that because Colin Powell is on RadioFarda’s executive board, is active military, is part of the “leading council of the CIA,” I was an effectively an employee of the CIA. I denied that I had ever worked for the CIA or RadioFarda. They responded that they had transcripts of my radio interviews. I told them that I had only conducted one interview, but they noted that I had in fact conducted many more under the pseudonym of “Kambiz Karimi.” Then I saw the intelligence interrogator open a file containing dozens of interviews of Kambiz Karimi, along with analysis of the interviews by the Iran desk at the Intelligence Ministry. The Ministry of Intelligence in Tehran has established different desks for monitoring different activities. At the time, RadioFarda had its own table. The Ministry also monitored the activities of certain websites and weblogs which had their own special desks.. RadioFarda’s desk had written a report for all my interviews and had taken the voice files and compared them. They had done a lot of sophisticated things to put this analysis together. They produced a CD of all my interviews and asked if I wanted to hear them. I told them that the CD doesn’t prove anything because I was a journalist, and according to Iranian Press Law, use of a pseudonym is a journalist’s right. I also chastised them for forcing journalists to use pseudonyms by creating unsafe working conditions for journalists. When I said this, the officer got up and said, “Arash cooperate with us. It is to your benefit to do so.”

40. I noticed that I couldn’t get through to them, so I repeated what I had said the day before which was that I wouldn’t talk until my lawyer was present. They asked who my lawyer was and I said Mohammad Seifzadeh. They responded that Seifzadeh was “another jack-ass worse than [me]!” At that point, their behavior and attitude towards me became completely offensive and hostile. The judge told me to get out. It was close to 1:00 p.m.

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Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Travel Restrictions