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Witness Statement: Mahmoud Roghani

75. My third trial began in 1987. Moqtadai-e was the chief judge this time. He had a secretary who attempted to implicate me with the crime of supporting Mosediq. Moqtadai-e introduced himself and continued that I had claimed that I had not seen my charge sheet. Then he asked that how I had been tried so far? I said, “You know much better. They called me and took me to a courtroom for trials that lasted only five minutes. They asked me some questions that had no connection with my charges.” Then, he told his secretary to give me a copy of my charge sheet and told me to appear before him the following week.

76. A couple of days later, they brought my charge sheet to my room. I wrote my defense with the assistance of Kianoori, Hajari and Zare. There were twenty-one charges against me. Only the first one – “apostacy”- was subject to a death sentence. They brought this charge against me after an interrogator asked me whether I was Muslim during an interrogation session. I said I was. Then he asked whether I prayed. I said I did not. Then he asked for how long. I replied that I did not remember but probably since I was 15 or 16 years of age. I did not know the consequences of that interrogation.

77. I handed my defense to the secretary the next week on my trial day. I claimed at my defense that I had never prayed in my whole life. My father was a member of the Tudeh Party; he drank liquor and did not believe in God. One other charge was “attempt to organize a military group.” I rejected it and said that I met the colonel and reported it to Kianoori. I had no further contact with him.

78. Maqtadai-e, my judge, said that I had been sentenced to capital punishment for the first charge. He said that he believed I was telling the truth about my father. Then he took me out of the court room and said “if you promise to pray and perform your religious duties, I will sentence you to 15 years imprisonment.” I promised that I would do so but I did not keep that promise.

79. Around this time, they took me to another ward called Wazaret (the Ministry). It belonged to the Ministry of Intelligence. It was a multi-floor complex near the Sanitarium. It had a large hall at the top floor. The prison officials had made some room there too. Partavi was living in one room there. He had a large library. There were libraries in other rooms too. Dr. Jodet, Kyhan and Ali Galaviz (all senior members of the Tudeh Party) were busy translating some texts there.

Emergency Situation

80. From there, I was transferred back to room 368 of Sanitarium. It was a 3 by 4 meter room, and had a toilet and a shower. We were 15 people in that room. We did not have a radio but had a small black & white TV. The guards controlled the channels from outside. I remember we had TV until Imam Khomeini appeared on TV and said that he was drinking poison. A few days later, they came and took the TV. I think it was around July 21 but I’m not sure. Baqerzade, a member of the Tudeh Party, said that they would clean up the prisoners from now on. We did not know anything about the MEK’s military operation.

81. We did not know anything about termination of visiting rights. Before the massacre started, when our visitation time arrived, we got ready to go to visit but they told us that there were no visits that day. Similarly, the half an hour we had to get fresh air was terminated.

82. A week before the executions started, I was in room 400 with 15 senior members of the Tudeh Party including Hajari, Mohammad Ali Amoui, Sabir Mohammad Zadeh, Asif Rezemdida, Hedayat-ullah Moalem, Massoud Akhgar (chief editor of Donya magazine), and Amir Nikayeen, and some other people whose names I’ve now forgotten. I saw the guards weld the iron window shades shut from the outside.

83. The day after they took our TV set, Esmayeel Zolqadar, a military officer who was imprisoned during the monarchy system, and I had our dentist appointments. This was the last time they took us out for dental check ups. I think it was on August 19 or 20, 1988. At the dentist’s office, we ran into a non-political prisoner to whom we had become somewhat close. He was in charge of planting flowers in the area and he sometimes left cigarettes in the bushes for us. He was in charge of cleaning the area and was not blindfolded. He came and sat beside me and Mr. Zolfaghar. He said, “Sirs, I should tell you something so that you become cautious. A commission has been appointed by Imam Khomeini; it is at the discretion of the commission to order anything from execution to release. They will ask three questions: are you a Muslim or not? Do you believe in the Islamic Republic or not? Do you believe in your party or not? Goodbye and take care.” He made these comments and left.

84. On the way back to our cell, Zolqadar and I saw that a lot of luggage had been thrown in a solitary cell. I saw the name Hossein Ghalanbar on one of them. I realized what the man in the dentist had told us was true. When we got to our room, the 15 of us analyzed the situation. We concluded that Baqerzadeh was right and that the authorities wanted to clean the prisons. While eating, Mr. Hajjari said: “my friends, I want us to sit and discuss what we should say if they take us to court.” There, they told me that since I already had my sentence, I was not in a military organization or in hiding, I had not left the country, I was not in prison during the Shah’s time (all of these were negative points), and moreover I had a son and a 15-year sentence, I had to give the right answer to all their questions. In my ward, Moalem Hedayatollah who was the member of the central committee, and Saber Mohammad Zadeh and I decided to answer this way. Hajari said that they would execute him anyway whether he gave the right answer or not. Others agreed with him and so they decided to say “no” to the questions.

85. One night we heard female voices from downstairs shouting that they were killing everybody. We were convinced they were executing prisoners.

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Tagged as:

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