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Witness Statement: Arash Sigarchi

41. There were few other rooms and judges at the court house. I stood in the corridor for three hours. The Revolutionary Court has jurisdiction over drug and security related crimes. Many of the people who were also waiting in the corridor with me were drug addicts who were sitting on the floor. I didn’t want to sit on the floor like them. I considered it a defeat, so I stood there for the duration of the time.

42. Judge Eskandari called me back into the court room. He explained fourteen charges against me; insulting the Imam Khomeini, insulting the leader, insulting the sources of emulation, insulting the holy faith of Islam, propaganda activity against the regime, spying for the CIA, disclosing intelligence, insulting the head of the Expediency Discernment Council, and many other similar charges. He further added insulting individuals such as President Mohammad Khatami, Head of the Expediency Council Hashemi Rafsanjani, Nategh-Nouri – he just kept adding names. He then told me to sign the charge sheet. So I wrote: “I, Arash Sigarchi, in the right state of mind and health, having in mind Article 25, 26, 66, and 138 of the Constitution and other articles, announce that this court is closed and is in session without my lawyer and a jury. And I do not accept any of the charges against me.” Eskandari read my writing and said, “with this signature you have dug your own grave.” He then told me to get out.

43. After a few minutes, two plainclothes intelligence officers came and called me. As they came in, they pushed back their jackets to show that they were armed. The judge ordered them to cuff me and take me away. One of them flashed his gun again and said, “handcuffs won’t be necessary…” as if to suggest that if I were to run away he would shoot me. The officer was much taller than me but I tapped him on the arm and informed him that had I wanted to run away, I would have done so a long time ago. My charges were then explained to me. I was afraid of what they were going to do to me. According to the Iranian Criminal Code, bail had to be set so the accused could put up the money and avoid going to prison. I saw the Judge write 200 million in my Bail paper. I asked him why they intended to send me to prison and said that I can put up the bail. He asked me if I knew how much the bail was. I said 200 million rials ($20,000). He then said that the bail was 200 million tomans ($200,000). At this point I got a little scared. Prior to this, the only other case where the bail was set as high, was that of Hashem Aghajari, who was sentenced to death for insulting the Imam’s. Even his bail was set at 50 million tomans. My bail was four times the amount of his. What were they going to do to me – execute me four times over? While I was thinking this, the judge explained, “Don’t even think about collecting this amount. Because I figured that your supervisors in the CIA will provide this money for you, I did not set bail for you so you won’t be able to be released whenever you have the money! I issued detention order so that you are held in prison for as long as the interrogators and I want to hold you. In fact, you should stay there until you rot!”

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