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Witness Statement: Reza Azad

41. In the room, there was one interrogator and what appeared to be two tavvabs, or repenters. I think the tavvabs were former political activists. The tavvabs were effective in interrogation for this reason -- because they possessed insider knowledge of the political activities of opposition groups.

42. The interrogation and torture went like this: at first, the torturers showed me the accusations from beneath my blindfold. Then they threatened me with a cable whip and knocked my head with it a bit.

43. When they really wanted to start, they forced me to drink three very large jugs of water. At the time I did not know what the purpose of this was. Then they forced me to lie on my stomach on a bed that was made of metal with wooden legs.

44. They tied my ankles to the metal parts of the bed. Then the blows from the cable whip started. The torturers would whip me, question me, whip me, and question me again, with no break in between. It was very painful. My feet began to throb and then the pain traveled all the way up to my brain. They kept whipping me, one lash after the other, giving no chance for the pain to subside. The bottoms of my feet did not go numb, so I could feel the pain of each lash.

45. Human skin does not easily break under the lash of a cable whip. But with repetitive, strong lashes, injury is inevitable. Many prisoners who were whipped suffered from serious infections of their wounds. Prisoners had foot infections and back infections in the places on the skin where they had been lashed.

46. After I was whipped in the interrogation room, my torturers led me down some stairs to another room. I was blindfolded at the time so I could not see my surroundings. However I knew from our movements that we were walking down steps. Since my incarceration, maps of the torture chambers in Evin have been published in books and are available on the internet, and show the location of what I am describing now.

47. We reached a place that contained two or three more beds because I could hear the sound of a boy and girl being whipped on beds. The first time I was interrogated and tortured, there was a girl in one of the beds next to me, getting hit by a cable. In another bed, there was a boy who was moaning but I did not hear the sounds of them hitting him. The sound of a cable hitting a body is like a piece of wood or a club hitting a mattress – it is a low noise and not very clear. The mouths of the persons being hit were usually gagged but the interrogator continued to stand above them and ask them questions. I could hear the questions the interrogators were asking those next to me. As the boy and girl were being hit, I could hear their screams escaping from beneath the mouth folds.

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Tagged as:

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