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Witness Statement: Arash Sigarchi

22. On the second day of interrogation, at 5:00 p.m., Samadi said, “Technically we should keep you in prison, but if you cooperate with us we’ll help you.” I did not reply to him. They took me with a white Paykan to my home and dropped me off. I got home around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. When I was about to get out, the interrogator asked, “What are you going to do with the mess that you’ve made of leaking information?” This was regarding the fact that I had informed my friends that I was going to be detained, and that news of my detention had spread fast. During my interrogations, they asked me why I had leaked information regarding my detention. I responded by invoking Zahra Kazemi’s name, and telling them that given conditions in the country it was natural for me to be wary after being summoned. They didn’t see it my way, and suggested that I write something on my blog to diffuse the situation. So I wrote something that basically said that I had been unwell for a few days and had gone to the seaside. Later, when I was freed and came to America, I kept the posting but made changes to it by striking through the previous text and noting that I had written the entry at the “suggestion” of my interrogator, and after two days of torture. The day of or the day after I was released was the Birth of Imam Ali or Father’s day. I was arrested on August 28, 2004 and released the evening of the next day, August 29, 2004.

23. They didn’t call me again until December 9, 2004. Nothing significant happened during this time. I went to the newspaper everyday and tried to perform my daily tasks.

24. Naturally, after my two days of detention and before my next arrest, they monitored my weblog more closely. Of course, they had been monitoring my weblog since I first started it. However, I had thought to myself that under these conditions, they would read every posting on my weblog in the worst light possible. Generally when someone is detained for a few days and then released, it is done with the intention of scaring him. If he were dangerous, they wouldn’t release him at all. Realizing this, I tried to write more cautiously. My self-censorship intensified. The problem was clearly serious now. Prior to this, every time they didn’t like a certain entry, they would contact me by phone. However, this time they had tortured me and raided my house. It was natural for me to be afraid. Moreover, I didn’t want the paper to be shut down because of my actions.

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Tagged as:

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