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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

35. The prison guards were clued into the structures and rules of the prison cells. It got to the point where even the guards knew they had to respect the organizational structure of prisoners in each cell. When the guards would open the cell door, they would ask which prisoner was in charge of the cell. The prisoners held informal elections to decide which cellmate would be in charge. The guards would also ask who was responsible for operation of the television in the cell. There was a small television in each cell and we used to listen to the news. Also, the last channel on the television was that of Evin’s prison. This channel broadcast the confessions extracted during torture so as to destroy morale among the prisoners.

First Interrogation and Torture

36. After two days in Section 209, not knowing my fate, the guards brought me to a room for my first interrogation. I guessed my interrogator was a young man around my age.

37. I was blindfolded when I was in the interrogation room so at first I could only see the feet of my interrogators. But when I thought no one was paying attention, I raised my head a bit and glanced around the room from beneath my blindfold. In those brief glimpses I saw that the room measured roughly 3 square meters. It had white walls and chairs that faced the walls.

38. The interrogator started by immediately accusing me of massive crimes. From beneath my blindfold, he showed me a paper filled with criminal allegations against me. I denied all the allegations.

39. On the sheet were allegations of assassination, carrying arms and other capital offences. There is a saying in Persian that “when faced with death, you will accept a fever.” This came to mind because when accused of crimes that carry capital punishment, you are more willing to accept guilt, however false, for crimes that carry a sentence of imprisonment, but not death.

40. After I read through the allegations, I realized that the government had limited intelligence about me. For example, the sheet read that I was a member of the Minority faction of the Fedaian party even though I left the party years back, at the time it split. Under the prison regime of (Asadollah) Lajevardi7 and (Ayatollah) Gilani, this activity would incur capital punishment.

7Sayyed Asadollah Lajevardi was the warden of Evin Prison in Tehran from June 1981 until 1985 when he was replaced due to complaints of other clergy.

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Tagged as:

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