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Witness Statement: Fariborz Baghai

35. For the first four months of my imprisonment, I was kept in solitary confinement apart from a short while when a young guy, around 18 years old, was brought to my room. His name was Akbar and he lived in a rural village in Kermanshah, in the west of Iran. He had attempted to plant a bomb but was arrested and executed very fast. The Iraqis’ had addicted Akbar to alcohol and used him as a tool. He tried to fight his addiction while in prison. Having him in my room was very troubling for me. I had nothing in my room but they brought in an addicted person. Now imagine how you can live with an addicted person in a room who has no control over his behavior and does not react rationally. Living with him was an additional torture for me for the two months that he lived with me.

36. In the summer of 1982, a year after my arrest, some friends of Qotb-zadeh, the former Foreign Minister, was arrested. One of them called Darvish (Sufi) Kermanshahi known as “Ali Alhaq” was brought into my cell. He told me that he was from “Ali Allahi”, a Sufi sect, but that he knew the Shiism very well, and said that if I did not pronounce my belief in Islam, I would be killed very soon. I told him that I believed in Islam so he taught me how to pray and perform it. Darvish also reported to the prison authorities that I was a Muslim and practiced Islam.

37. When I started practicing Islam, the guards came and asked for medicine for their families. They handed me their notebooks and I wrote prescriptions for them. In return, I asked them to give me a bucket of water. They gave me a painting box. I brought water in it from restroom and washed myself after I exercised.

38. I knew that hemoglobin in the blood vessels die under torture and kidneys fail to discharge them from the body due to the lack of water. As a result, the dead cells accumulate in the kidneys and are not discharged through urine. This can cause serious disease and might lead to the death of the person. Therefore, when I was tortured, I drank from the bucket I mentioned above and urinated in the same bucket. I drank my pee again because I feared that my hemoglobin would not get filtered. I believe that bucket of water and drinking from it helped me remain alive. I was told that a doctor who had been there before me had told prisoners not to drink after torture but I believed he was wrong. When I explained the change in physiological function of the body after torture, the guards changed their practice and allowed prisoners to drink more water. I think it was a service I did in prison.

39. I had been in prison for fifteen months when I heard that Khorramshahr, a city in the south of Iran, was recaptured from Iraqi forces. The Iranian forces were at the Iraq border. Khomeini had the ultimate power to command forces to cross border or not. The moment I heard this news, I said that now the Tudeh Party would announce that they would no longer support the war because it was no longer a defensive war but an aggressive one. If the Tudeh Party takes this stand, the Russians would do the same and would not support the Iran government. Thus, in the next couple of months the government would arrest all members of the Tudeh Party. This was my guess at that time.

40. During one of my interrogation sessions, I told Haj Amin that crossing the border was a trap the United States planted for them to drown in Basra’s swamps. (The government was also referring to Basra’s swamps in their news but I warned them far in advance that the army would disappear in Basra’s swamps.) I told him that the world was against their advance in Iraq territory. They would not sell them weapons any more. The Soviet Union would not cooperate with them and they would be defeated there. Besides, the moment they are recognized as invaders, they would not be given compensation. (At that time, some Arabic countries wanted to give Iran $40 billion compensation and they would not give it if they entered Iraq). Haj Amin asked me if I knew why the international community was against their invasion of Iraq. I said I did not. He said, “A kid was circumcised. He was crying and shouting. There was a girl behind him shouting and crying too. They asked her why she was crying. The girl said, “They sharpen it for me.” If the world is against us, it is because we sharpen it here. After Iraq, it is Saudi Arabia’s turn.”

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Tagged as:

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