Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons
Witness Statement of Mojtaba Saminejad
Name: Mojtaba Saminejad
Place of Birth: Tehran, Iran
Date of Birth: September 30, 1980
Occupation: : Blogger, journalist, human rights activist
Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)
Date of Interview: February 4, 2011
Interviewer: IHRDC Staff
This statement was prepared pursuant to an interview with Mojtaba Saminejad. It was approved by Mr. Saminejad on May 18, 2011.
1. My name is Mojtaba Saminejad. I was born on September 30, 1980. I was a student of journalism and communication at Tehran University.
2. I was arrested twice. The first time was on October31, 2004 and I was released after 88 days on bail. Two weeks later, on February 12, 2005, I was arrested again and remained in prison for 21 months.
3. The first time I was arrested for exposing the detention of three bloggers on my blog. However, they charged me with other offenses later for articles that I had written in my blog. Some charges were very serious like insulting the Prophet Mohammad, which if proven, is punishable by death, insulting Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khāmene’i, crimes of national security, disturbing public opinion, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and above all, the crime of insulting to Prophet Mohammad.
4. It was around 8 p.m. when I was arrested the first time. I was at home with my mother, one of my brothers and a friend. Four people came at the door and asked for me. I went to see who they were. They showed me my picture and asked if it was me. I confirmed that it was. They showed me a dossier that contained my writings and introduced themselves as law enforcement officers. They forced their way in and said they wanted to search the house. I asked for a warrant. They did not show one. My mother and I asked them again about a search warrant and who they were. But they said they were from law enforcement. One of them introduced himself as Mr. Tehrani.
5. Later, during my interrogation and conversations with my interrogators, I found out that they belonged to a special committee established unlawfully by Sepah (Iran Revolutionary Guard Council, IRGC) under the direction of Judge Sayeed Mortazavi and Judge Moghadis (assassinated later) to fight internet crime and to suppress bloggers.
6. This committee called “Internet Office” was not officially established. Nonetheless, it was active and targeted bloggers. I had written an article about their unlawful activities in my blog before my arrest. The media somehow knew about it but the government did not officially confirm its existence.
7. They searched my home extensively for one and a half hours. During their search, my father arrived. He also asked them for a search warrant but they did not show one. They cursed and insulted us during the search and threatened me. One of them forced me to get into my blog and change its content. They particularly wanted me to deny that three bloggers had been arrested for political reasons and to report that they were arrested for drinking at a night party. I didn’t write it. One of them wanted to use force and violence. My mother and brother stopped him. He said that I’d be imprisoned for years if I did not change the content of my blog. I wrote what he asked me to write but wrote it in such a way as to make readers smell a rat. For instance, I wrote that I was going to Shiraz to participate in a book exhibition. It was the month of Ramadan and everybody knew that book exhibitions would not be held during that month.
8. I believe that even if I denied the arrest of the three bloggers, I would not have been released. They had come to arrest me. They collected all my personal documents during the search.