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Witness Statement: Sabah Nasri

63.  Farzad described one method of torture called “football game” in which a few people circled around him in a room and pushed him in each other’s direction for a long time until he had vertigo and felt nauseous. While pushing him back and forth, they also ridiculed him and said offensive things to him. During interrogations, in order to demoralize and ridicule him, the interrogators insulted his family and leaders of various Kurdish parties. Farzad told me his torturers had a whip made of leather straps called Zulfaghar. Every time interrogators brought Farzad to the interrogation room, they brought Zulfaghar too.

64.  One time in the interrogation room, while Farzad was blindfolded, interrogators stripped him naked and threatened to rape him with a baton. The interrogators tried different ways of interrogating Farzad, all unsuccessful, and they did not know how to force him to confess. He withstood all types and forms of torture. 

65.  To further add to the injustice, Farzad’s case file was spotless. Even Farzad’s attorney Mr. Bahrami once said that if the authorities brought even one valid document to prove the charges pinned on Farzad, he would tear up his practicing license, that how confident he was in Farzad’s innocence of the allegations against him.

Trial and Sentencing

66.  After 14 months of legal limbo, in 2008 I went to Branch 13 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Sadat.  Hedayat Ghazali and I went to court together.

67.  Our trial had been delayed four times and during this period, the case file was in the hands of Judge Sadat. Even still, the fourth time when we were summoned to court and when Sadat brought out the case file, he asked my name and although I repeated it three times, he still did not understand what my name was. Admittedly, my name, Sabah, is not very common in cities with a majority population of Fars decent however this error indicated to me that the judge had not even bothered to read my file. He then asked my attorney whether I was a foreigner or not! From this, it was clear he had not even read the first page on the case file containing my biographical details that indicated I was from Kurdistan and a student in Tehran.

68.  At that point it was quite clear that the judge was merely reading the ruling handed to him by the prosecutor or the intelligence office. Then he asked me, “You have been in prison for 14 months, how come you have not been released on bail yet?” I said “Yes! This is the question I have of you! Why has no bail been issued for us yet?” Again, it was clear from his conduct and his questions that he had not even read the case file.

69.  The representative of the prosecutor came and read the indictment and requested the maximum penalty for us. We stated our defense. In fact, our defense made no sense at all. When after 14 months of stay in prison we had effectively served our sentences, defending ourselves bore no meaning at all.

70.  I was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. After I appealed the sentence, the appeals court sentenced me to 1.5 years’ imprisonment and a six month suspended imprisonment sentence served over 5 years. I was ultimately charged with propaganda against the regime and participation in illegal gatherings.

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Kurds, Torture, Executions