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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

118. Their whole approach differed from Rahmani and the thugs who worked for him. We heard that they brought kinder and gentler Pasdaran to work in the prisons.12 These newly hired Pasdaran clashed with the previous Pasdaran affiliated with Rahmani and Lajaward over treatment of the prisoners.

119. Even after I had served my sentence of one year, I spent an additional 13 months in prison as a mellikesh.13 At Ghezelhesar, the members of Montazeri’s Board came and spoke with the mellikesh prisoners about their case files.

120. I spoke twice with representatives of Ayatollah Montazeri about my case file. Shortly thereafter I was informed that I would be released. I found this news hard to believe since I was not repentant, nor had I pretended to be for the sake of release. Nonetheless, the prison authorities bluntly instructed me to gather my belongings because my file had been reviewed and the decision had been made to release me. The authorities told me that my release was pittance from Montazeri for having been jailed longer than my sentence.

121. Three days after I was given this news, the prison authorities summoned me and asked me for all my possessions. Their command to collect my things was an indication that I was returning to Evin.

122. I was among the prisoners that Montazeri and his people freed. They took us back to Evin in a bus that was much more comfortable than the bus that earlier brought us to Ghezelhesar. We returned to Evin and after two days of sleeping in the hallways of the main building, my brother posted bail for me and I was released.

123. The prison administration drove us to a nearby park in minibuses. Normally children played in this park during the day. But then it became a a place for release of prisoners from Evin. After I was dropped off at the park, I, along with three other persons, got in a pick-up car. Each person got off in the direction of the south of the city and returned to their old life.

12 Informal name for members of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or the Sepah-e Pasdaran e Enghelab-e Eslami, also known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a branch of Iran’s military, founded after the Iranian revolution in 1979.

13Mellikesh refers to prisoners who had served their sentences but remained in prison because they refused to publicly confess to crimes or retract their views.

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Tagged as:

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