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Witness Statement: Mahmoud Roghani

Interrogation and Torture

16. Interrogation began. There were two torture rooms at the ground floor of every ward that were constructed during the Shah’s time. I guess our ward was in a four or six floor building. During the interrogation, I was in Ward 1, Ward 2 or the hallway of Ward 4.

17. The first time I was taken to the torture room, I felt it was a very dangerous place. The entrance had a bar which forced me to raise my foot half a meter to cross it. Right after that, there was a narrow iron door that they locked behind us. Then, there was a small room through which we could hardly pass. Then, there was another door that was similar to the one before. When they locked both doors, it was impossible for any sound to escape. The room did not have any windows. Once I pulled my blindfold up with my eyebrows and looked around. I was in a circle-shaped room. There was an iron bed in the room. They made me lie facedown on the bed. They tied my feet and hands with electrical cables and then lashed me with a whip. (I was an electrician. I knew the size of the lines. When they beat me, I knew what size the cables were. They beat us with 2.5 by 4 or 4 by 4 lines.) They chose the size of the cables according to their purpose. If they wanted to create pain, they chose the thicker cables and when they wanted to create burning feelings, they chose a thinner size. Most of the time, they beat us on the soles of our feet but sometime, they missed the target and hit other places. They did not hit my back because one of them sat on my back. The first time they hit me, they covered my mouth with a blanket; sometimes they pushed our socks into our mouths. They told me before lashing that if I wanted to confess, I should open and close my fingers.

18. On the first day, they told me that they wanted no information from me but they showed me a decree and said that, according to the decree issued by an Ayatollah (I have forgotten the name they said). They would lash us 30 times to welcome us and to make us understand how it feels. It was very painful. I endured it as there was no other way for me to avoid it.

19. In the early days of the revolution, a very prominent theoretician from the People’s Fedayeen Guerrillas Organization5 published a book that mistakenly had written “after 30 lashes, you won’t feel the pain. Therefore, you must never worry about the torture!” I can tell you with certainty that I could feel the pain after 1000 lashes. After each lash, my hair stood up from pain.

Transfer from Evin to Qezel Hesar and Gohar Dasht

20. Anyhow, I endured the 30 lashes. I was thinking that they would not beat me anymore because they did not want anything from me. I was responsible for a labor committee in Tehran. But I was wrong. They took me to another room and made me sit on a school chair and asked me to introduce myself, describing who I was, what activities I was engaged in, etc. I took the pen and started writing about myself.

21. I called the IRGC officer “brother” because we, the members of the Tudeh Party, were their supporters and tried to help them get established. More than any other movement, we campaigned for them and took the brunt of the hardship and advocated for them. I said “Brother! You claim there is not torture in the Islamic Republic and the Constitution prohibits it; what was the act you did with me a while ago?” He said, “Look! You seem like you don’t know where you are?” I said, “No, in fact, I don’t know”. He said, “Really! Don’t you?” I said, “Honestly, I don’t know.” He said, “You are in an IRGC military base. This sort of kidding is for outside. Here, you must say what you are asked to say. What we did to you was just a welcome treat. If you don’t answer, you will be offered full treats.” I said, “Brother, after all you said you are revolutionary and bringing the revolution to this country. It was SAVAK, the former intelligence bureau of the monarchy system who was torturing, but now…” Suddenly, he slapped me so hard on the face that I saw thousands of stars sparkling in front of my eyes. As I moved to gain control of myself, I was assaulted by many people. They hit me, kicked me and punched me. When I was holding my head, they hit me in the stomach, when I was holding my stomach; they hit me on the head. Beating continued for a while. I called and asked “why are you hitting me?” One of them said, “You don’t get it. We can change the Constitution, the law and the rubbish things in there.” I said, “Brother, I got it. Stop it here. What was your question?” My interrogator said, “Now you became a good boy. Write who you are, what you were doing in the Party, and what your plan was to overthrow the government.” I said, “Brother, please stop it here. Whatever we wanted to do, we did not want to overthrow the government. We fought with anti-revolutionary people. I tried to break the labor strikes in favor of the establishment. (I was representing the Party in Tehran’s factories. Often Javanshir gave me a call informing me that, for instance, Iran-National Factory, wanted to go on strike the next day. Go and speak with the labor association to stop the demonstration, because it is time for construction and any sorts of strikes benefit the enemy.)

5 A banned leftist Marxist organization that was founded sometime before 1979 in Iran.

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Tagged as:

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