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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

100. After some period of time, the guards took the boy away. I never knew what happened to him after that.

Transfer to Ghezelhesar Prison

101. Usually those prisoners that had sentences of less than one year would serve out the whole term at Evin. However this was not the case with me. One day a guard told me that I was being transferred to Ghezelhesar prison because Evin had become filled with Tudeh party members and there was no more room to house me.

102. I was transferred to Ghezelhesar under cover of night. The guards put all the prisoners marked for transfer to Ghezelhesar on a bus with curtains drawn over the bus windows. I was blindfolded but managed to see the bus and curtains. It is possible that other buses leaving Evin transferred prisoners that night.

103. Ghezelhesar prison had three units. Unit Two was for pedestrian crimes, while Unit One and Unit Three housed political prisoners. There was a very long corridor in each unit. The wardens needed bicycles to travel from one side of the prison to the other because of the long distances.

104. I was informed that I would serve the remainder of my sentence at Ghezelhesar. After a beating, I was sent to one of the units of correction, unit 7 in ward 3. There were four units on each side of the ward. The four on the right hand side were large and crowded with prisoners. The four on the other side were smaller and intended for the “correction” of prisoners like myself, who had relatively short sentences of a year or less but did not pray and had not repented.

105. At the time I was at Ghezelhesar, Haj Davood Rahmani, one of the deputies under Lajevardi, started running the prison. He systematically forced prisoners to repent. The goal of the Regime differed from that of the SAVAK under the Shah’s rule.9 During the Shah, if a prisoner was singled out, the guards could okay that prisoner’s release. The goal of the Regime though was either to turn the prisoner into a mental case and strip them of personality or to extract whatever information possible from the prisoner.

9 Stands for Sazeman-e Ettela’at va Amniyat-e Keshvar, or the National Intelligence and Security Organization. SAVAK was the domestic security and intelligence service of Iran from 1957 to 1979 under Reza Shah Pahlavi.

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Tagged as:

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