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Witness Statement: Mahmoud Roghani

The Executions began

86. Two days after this incident (August 21/22), Haj Reza, supervisor of our cell, came and said “Mr. Kiomars Zarshenas, with all his possessions!” which meant to pack his belongings and leave with them. Usually they announced the person’s name in advance and only after the person got ready, they opened the doors and took him. But this time, Haji Reza came into the room himself and greeted everybody. The door was ajar and I could see many guards moving around the hall. I went to help Koimars and handed him a match and told him to keep it with him for lighting cigarettes. Haj Reza grabbed the match from my hand and then offered a cigarette to me. Meanwhile, he examined the match to find any clue that it was for secret communication. Then he asked if he could have the match because he did not have one. I asked Haji Reza where they were taking Kiomars and if they were going to take others as well. He said that they were simply changing his room. Kiomars said, “Sir, why are you giving misleading directions. Just say you want to take me to be executed.”

87. They took Kiomars away. Many guards were in the hallway. It was a precaution - if the prisoner resisted, the guards would subdue him. About an hour later, Haji Reza came for me (August 21/22). I was about to pack my luggage when he said that it was not needed. He took me to the hallway, offered me a cigarette and said, “Mr Roghani! Kiomars is writing” meaning he was writing his will. I asked why. And he said, “Well, he just is.” And then he added that many other prisoners who were there would soon do the same and that only Moalem, I and some others had a chance. He said that I would be done if I answered incorrectly. I asked what an incorrect answer was. He warned me to be cautious and not give incorrect answers in court. He added that it was a serious matter and he took a risk in telling me. Then he told me that I should tell everyone to write a letter and demand amnesty. There might be a chance or that would be the end of us. I asked Haji Reza why he was concerned about me. He said that he read my case and he knew that I had two kids; I had not left the country; I was not in prison during Shah’s time; I worked in the worker’s branch. He said that I had a better chance of surviving because I had a 15-year sentence. Having a sentence was a positive point. The rest had not been sentenced. Moalem had gone to court twice; he also was a worker and so had a chance too. The rest had university education, had lived in socialist countries, and had not been sentenced. As a result, their chances of survival were less. Haji Reza said that he felt sorry for my kids and that the issue was serious. He said I should make no mistakes. I said that I would convey his message.

88. When he said that Kiomars was writing his will, I became choked with tears. I entered my cell. Hajari came toward me and put his hands on my shoulders. He knew how I felt. I told him about what Haji Reza had told me. Hajari (who was my direct supervisor in the velayati committee) said: “you are the only one among us who has a chance of staying alive and getting the news out. Don’t be afraid of saying that you are a Muslim and that you believe in the Islamic Republic. And don’t be scared to say that you know nothing about the Party.” I agreed. Amoui was there, too. He still lives in Iran

89. We were all sitting the next day (August 23). We had just had our lunch when a guard came and announced everyone’s name except Amoui’s, Saber Mohammad Zadeh’s and mine. Everyone else was told to pack his belongings and leave. We knew what was happening. Haji Zade had informed us before. We helped them pack. I did not have the power to walk. We had lived together in one place for all these years and now they were leaving one by one and had to say their last goodbyes to us. They kissed me and said goodbye. Hajari said, “Remain strong. All of us die one day, in one way or another.” Nik Ayeen put his head on my shoulder and said, “Kiss your daughter for me.” I was tense and my brain did not work. I later understood that he meant that I should stay alive. After all of them left, Saber and I cleaned up. Saber was a strong person. Our room was large. We were in room number 400. After that, a guard came and called Saber to leave with all his belongings. Amoui and I were the only ones left.

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Tagged as:

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