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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

75. During the remainder of my time there, I heard and saw horrible mistreatment and torture of prisoners. I will describe some of what I witnessed until the year 1363, when Ayatollah Montazeri was given control over the prison system and changed conditions in prison.8

76. There was a special cell in Evin Called “Farmuniha” or the cell of the insane. Some people in the farmuniha cell had become so insane that it was a wonder they had not died yet. They were not sentenced to execution – otherwise the guards would have gotten rid of them sooner. Communication with these severely mentally ill persons was very difficult. Many prisoners in the cell of the insane were brought there by extreme force. The guards restrained them by beating them harshly and putting pills that had sedative effects in their mouth to swallow. Some prisoners were so mentally and emotionally damaged that they did not even scream when whipped – it seemed like they did not even realize what was happening to them.

77. In addition to the cell of the insane, there was also at least one cell housing minors under the age of sixteen. Some of the minors were also placed in the cell of the insane, maybe because of lack of space. I met some of them when they spent short periods of time with me in the cell of the insane.

78. There was a kid around 16 years of age who was brought into this cell from the insane cell. He was quiet and appeared to suffer from psychological abnormality. He spoke to no one and ate nothing. We did not see any marks of torture on his body. I do not know if he was raped. I heard that rapes occurred in the cell of minors under the pretense of interrogation. This is one way in which the guards transformed the minors into seriously mentally disturbed and dangerous people.

79. Why they brought him to stay in our cell I still do not know. Not everything in Evin was organized and orderly. While the kid stayed in our cell, we noticed that sometimes the guards called him outside, only for him to return shortly after. We later realized that the guards were giving him pills.

80. At first, this youth did not talk about anything. But after a while, usually myself or the others softly started talking to him. It was in these conversations with him that I learned what had happened while he was in the cell of the minors.

81. He told me that one night in the cell for minors several guards came calling his name around midnight. This was unusual since typically at that time of the night the guards did not call out names of prisoners, unless they were kept in solitary confinement and marked for specific torture. In any event, they called out his name and the names of several others to follow them out to the Evin Hills.

8 In 1982, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini transferred much of his power to Ayatollah Montazeri (who was his close confidant prior to their rift in 1988). Among other powers, Ayatollah Khomeini also transferred powers of effective control over the revolutionary courts to Ayatollah Montazeri.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Free Association