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Witness Statement: Fariborz Baghai

51. I was tortured every day from March to April 1981. One day they took me for mock execution. They asked me to write my will. I wrote in my will that my dear wife should take our son and leave Iran. “These are the last days of my life. You should not stay here anymore because I’m not alive. As a German citizen, there is no reason for you to stay here. Take our son to Germany to continue his education.” To tell you the truth, I understood that they would not kill me because I was not taken to court. They needed a religious judge’s permission to kill me. They told me that a religious judge had approved my execution. But I knew the judge had to speak with me. Interrogators cannot convey the message to me. Secondly, I thought that they believed that the Tudeh Party was a very strong and large party. I had some information that I did not share with them. They knew that we had more information than what we had shared with them. Nonetheless, they took me blindfolded to an open space in Komittee Moshtarak. Then ordered “in line, order and fire.” Then they started laughing and said, “He pissed himself.” Then they returned me to my cell.

Arrests of the Tudeh Party’s leaders: Second round

52. The Islamic Republic knew by now that the Tudeh Party had a secret organization. When the first rank leaders of the Tudeh Party were arrested on February 6, 1981, some leaders went into hiding. The secret organization protected them. However, the arrested leaders told everything about the secret organization under torture. Torture and beating were constant those days. We could hear screams from the interrogation room all the time. Under extreme pressure, the party leaders exposed some secret information about the Party and the secret military organization. To confirm the accuracy of the extracted information, the government shared the confession with other prisoners. They confirmed the truthfulness of the information. After that government agents followed the secret organization leaders for two months to discover their connections, living places and contacts.

53. On May 1, 1983, the rest of the Tudeh Party leaders’ were arrested. There was no space when they were brought in. I was in a solitary cell in Ward II. When I went to the restroom, I saw that the cells and corridors were full of newly-arrived detainees. Prisoners were made to sit blindfolded. There was a guard standing next to each one of them. Then they came after me. They showed me a picture and asked if I knew him. I said I did not. The interrogator told me that that person had claimed that I was a Russian spy. I looked at the picture again but could not recognize him.

54. Around dusk they gave my room to senior rank leaders who had more important information than I. They wanted to interrogate them individually. They placed me in a hall and gave me a blanket. Every prisoner had a small space to live and to sleep in the hall. When the hall became full, I was transferred to a hall in Ward IV located one floor above that one. They brought more prisoners until there was no space in that hall as well. Then they took me to a room to live with five or six other prisoners.

55. Looking at the thickness of the soles of my feet, my roommates were surprised. Some of them knew me but I did not know them. They said they were members of the Tudeh Party. There was a man named Doctor Kambiz Shirdel in that room. He said that he was a medical doctor in Germany. I asked him why he was arrested; he said “I was arrested mistakenly.” I inquired and asked which kind of mistake, he said, that he had a Landover car and was on his way to an appointment that he had with a lady belonging to the head of the former regime in the north of Tehran, when he was stopped and arrested. The guards thought he was Kianoori, the leader of Tudeh Party, because Kianoori also had a Landover car. He said that he had been in prison since January 7, 1983. He said that his wife was also arrested because she had protested against his arrest and they had told her “welcome to prison” and she was put in the women’s ward. I asked him where he had studied; he said he lived in Koln. When I looked at him carefully, I remembered he was the person in the [picture my interrogator showed me. He was a monarchist and I was a member of Tudeh. Thus, we did not have any contact with each other in Germany. There was an army colonel with us in the room too. He was a member of the Tudeh Party. The rest of my cellmates were members of the secret organization of the Tudeh Party.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination