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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

82. The Evin hills surround the place where the Evin prison was built during the time of the Shah. One of those hills was where the firing range to execute prisoners was located. Later on a soundproof firing hall was built in the prison, but before that we heard the sound of gunfire and the sounds of single fatal shots. Believe it or not, some nights when we would count the number of fatal gunshots, it was more than a hundred in number. On that night, this kid and the others in the minor cell were brought out to witness the firing squad.

83. The youth recounted to me that he saw many young boys and girls tied to poles on the slope of the hill. Lorry trucks that were waiting to take the corpses away were parked nearby. The firing squad first read out sentences against the boys and girls before shooting them all to death.

84. The kid also told me about what his interrogator subjected him to at the shooting range. His interrogator, or the person who had been given the task of bringing the minors to witness the executions, brought the kid to the side and put a gun in his hand. Then someone else put a gun up to the kid’s forehead and brought the kid’s head over in the direction of those who were lined up to be shot. The guards then told the kid to shoot at the young boys and girls to avoid being shot to death himself.

85. This experience had made the kid mentally unstable. He told me that the guards smacked him around and beat him while this was all happening. In the end, I do not know whether he pulled the trigger and was forced to kill anyone. All I know is that he was driven to insanity by what his captors made him do.

86. The behavior of this kid showed me he was not right in the head. In our cell, we only received a little bit of rice to eat and were always hungry. When the kid was brought to our cell, we set aside our food ration to give to him. But he did not touch any of it. Instead, he huddled in the corner and told us that no one had the right or permission to enter his space.

87. Sometimes the guards came in the cell and gave him medicine with force. I did not know whether these pills were to drug him or help him heal.

88. This young kid was not the only one who witnessed atrocities like the execution range. I had heard of other cases like his – young prisoners that were made to witness and/or participate in the torture and killing of others. In most instances, the kids that were forced to witness and/or participate in these horrific crimes, would later “disappear” -- perhaps so that they could not bear witness to what they were subjected to and what they had seen.

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Tagged as:

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