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Witness Statement: Fariborz Baghai

74. A few hours later, I was told to collect my stuff. I was taken to a room called “Amouzishgah” or “training center.” About 100 and 150 prisoners lived in a space of about 6 by 8 meters. I saw them holding Qurans on their heads and praying “Ya Hussain, ya Hussain.” It was the month of Muharram. I said to myself that I was better off in solitary confinement. Then I noticed that somebody was shaking my foot. I saw he was Partovi. He was the head of the secret organization and cooperated with the government. He asked me to sit down. I sat and told him about my trial that day. He said that he was in the room with Nayyeri before me and added that when I entered the room he had told Nayyeri that they would have no trouble with me. I understood that he was the person in my court who confirmed my answers. I asked Partovi, “What he was doing there”. He said that the next day, Amoui, the third person in the party, would be tried and he was looking at his charge sheet and based on Amoui’s answer, he would make some counter argument for Nayyeri. I understood what he told me because the clerics had no information about Marxism. Even if you explained, they could not understand. It was the job of Partovi to justify the judge’s decision. Partovi told me that I had to learn how to hold the Quran over my head if I wanted to live.

75. Two or three days later, I was told to pack my clothes again. I was taken to Ward known as Shokolatiha’s ward. The Ward consists of two villas located at the foot of a mountain. A stream of water flowed down there. Mostly senior military officers from the former regime, armed robbers, and some students who attempted to cross the border unlawfully to study abroad were kept there. They were tried in the Revolutionary Court because their crimes were considered security crimes those days. These prisoners were not under pressure because they did not belong to any political organizations. They lived comfortable lives. There were some homosexuals among them too. The government vehemently denied having homosexuals in Iran like the West and considered the spread of homosexuality a national security threat. Therefore, the government had arrested some of them and executed a few others.

76. I became the prisoners’ medical doctor there. Sometimes I had to treat addicted people, other times I treated prisoners who protested and sewed their lips shut, and prisoners who attempted to commit suicide by cutting their wrists. I was told that I could read any books. So I decided to translate a book about homosexuals.

77. The head of our Ward was a vulgar guy from the south. He had a problem. He could not become a father. I used this opportunity and told him a friend of mine, Dr. Davanesh, who was an urologist, was able to treat him if he could bring him here. It was the beginning of a good relationship between him and me. This man took my translated articles in which it was argued that homosexuality was not a disease but a genetic desire and they should be given the sexual freedom like straight people. I guess there were some demonstrations worldwide against the execution of homosexuals in Iran. Anyhow, the execution of the homosexuals stopped. I think I contributed something to this process.

78. In 1988, I was transferred from Shokolitiha’s ward to Amouzishgah. At that time, the government had detained a great number of clerics. Therefore, ordinary prisoners were transferred to other wards to make space for them. Shokolitiha’s ward administration was changed and the Clerical Court took charge of it. I lived with Dr. Danish and Dr. Sivo-shamsian, an eye doctor, who was charged with spying for Israel in one room. Prisoners who worked in Amouzishgah had permission to go out in the afternoon and exercise. On July 21, 1988, some guards came and took our TV set and newspapers.

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Tagged as:

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