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Witness Statement: Mahmoud Roghani

70. After a few days, I was summoned to the prosecutor’s office again. When I got there, I was informed that the presiding religious judge had sentenced me to execution. I informed my family of the sentence and they went to Qom and spoke with officials there (apparently with Ayatollah Montazeri). Then, I was tried for the second time. Still, I had not seen my charge sheet.

71. My second trial took place in the summer of 1986 in the same place. I was living with Kianoori and Hajari in one cell at this time. My judge was named Montezami. (Don’t remember his first name) He had a puffy stomach and his eyes were like a dark crow’s. There was nobody in the room apart from him. He asked me if I accepted the interviews. I asked him if this was a court of justice. He said it was. I said I did not know what I was charged with and did not know how to defend myself. He said that I was accused of spying and then asked again if I accepted the interviews. (He was referring to Kianoori and Shaltoki’s, the two prominent leaders of the Tudeh party, interviews). I said I did not. He asked whether I believed that the interviews were taken under torture. I said I did. He asked whether I was tortured. I said I was and asked him if he wanted to see bruises on my feet. During the trial, some people came to ask him questions. Some others came to recommend prisoners. I remember one of them called him Haj Montezemi. I think my trial lasted 10 minutes- but five minutes of it passed as he spoke with others. At the end, Haj Montememi turned towards me and said, “You are weak and broke soon because you do not believe in God. The beatings are not torture but Taziz (punishment).” There were not many executions in 1986. Therefore, I dared to say something which I would not before. I said “Sir, if somebody subjected you to these sorts of Taziz for 24 hours, you would deny the righteousness of all the prophets.” He got very angry and said “You cursed, dirty person!” He got up from his chair and came towards me and slapped me hard on the face. Then he kicked me and threw me out of the room. A few days later, I was called again to the prosecutor’s office and was informed that I was resentenced to capital punishment.

72. Like before, my family went to Qom and claimed that I had not seen my charge sheet. Hajari, Kianoori and others also urged me to write a letter to officials and claim that I had not seen my charge sheet and to ask for a retrial.

73. During this period, they gave us more freedom. For example, they opened the doors of the cells and converted the ward into one large general ward. We could leave our cell and meet with other prisoners. I met Amir Nike Ayen and Azetullah Zare there. For seven months, they kept the door open and then the prisoners went on strike and protested against the poor quality of the food. Before the beginning of the strike, I was taken to a solitary cell for two weeks. Then, I was moved to the general wards of Sanitarium. I was there till 1988 along with Hajari, Baqerzadeh, and Zoulqader.

74. Interrogations never ceased while I was in prison. When I was in the Sanitarium, I was taken every two weeks for interrogations. They asked me questions such as whether I accepted the Islamic Republic, my party and similar questions. Sometimes they gave us questionnaires to fill out. Questionnaires began in 1984 but the closer we got to 1988, they became more regular - almost once every week. They asked us questions and wrote the answers. Once I was taken out for this kind of routine interrogation. There was an old man ahead of me. His name was Bahram Danish. He had given an interview before. When he was taken in, they asked him if he was willing to give an interview. He said he was not. They reminded him that he had already given an interview. He said, “If you revive that situation, I’ll give again.” At that time, the Tudeh Party had changed its policy and called for overthrowing of the regime. They asked me if I agreed with the Party’s call to overthrow the government. I said, “I disagreed. It was their call and had nothing to do with me.”

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Free Speech, Right to Protest