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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

89. I heard the story of the firing squad in even more graphic detail from an older male prisoner who came to stay in our cell for a period of time. The fact that just in our own cell I heard several of these stories shows how widespread the reality of this form of psychological torture was. My cell was only one of many, and similar stories were probably being recounted in other cells as well.

90. As for this older man, he was under severe psychological strain on account of the things he experienced. When he told us stories of what happened to him, his face contorted in crazy ways. He was in such anguish over what he had experienced. Perhaps he was put in our cell so that we would learn by example and be scared.

91. The old man told us that one night he was taken out to the shooting range. He told us how the guards made him a torturer and how he wanted to kill himself because of it. He always blamed himself for what happened to him. The majority of suicides at Evin were people like him, who had been forced to participate in mass killing of other prisoners.

92. The old man told us that one night they took him out to what was called “hill number four”. Floodlights surrounded the area and lit up the location where the firing squad was situated. The hill overlooked Melli University, or what is now called University Shahid Beheshti.

93. The executions happened behind the hill number four. This old man told me that the executioners turned on the floodlights and lined up the blindfolded and handcuffed prisoners to get them ready for the firing squad. The girls and boys faced imminent death. They started singing hymns together and chanting slogans against the Regime. Then the executioners fatally shot the prisoners.

94. Next to the firing range was a medium size eight or ten wheeled truck. The old man was told that the others who had been brought to witness the firing squad were repentants, even though many of them were not and had only been brought there to drive them insane. The old man and the others were instructed to put the corpses in the back of the truck. A curtain covered the back of the truck, so as to obscure the pile of corpses from outside view. After the corpses were piled in, the old man was forced to take a high pressure water hose and clean all traces of blood off the truck. The truck was parked on a slight uphill slope and the slanted angle caused blood to stream out from the corpses piled up in the back. The man and others washed the truck a few minutes with the hose to make sure no trail of blood was left on the road. Then the driver took the truck out to mass graves in the outer plains of Tehran.

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Tagged as:

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