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Witness Statement: Arash Sigarchi

47. Around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. my officer came to interrogate me again. He asked whether I was ready to confess in front of the camera. I quoted from the articles and said, “Did you know that ‘Tomorrow is the day Arash Sigarchi is going to be released.’?” He was really shocked. I informed him that all the media outlets had written about me and that Seifzadeh had accepted me as a client, and Shirin Ebadi was going to be my lawyer as well. He got angry, but I told him that I would no longer answer his questions. They sent me to another solitary cell for an additional five days. All together I was in solitary confinement for a total of twenty days. After that, they sent me to the general prison, amongst the murders, killers, and drug dealers.

48. What they ultimately wanted from me was an interview where I would confess that I received money from the CIA and that I had formed a team with RadioFarda in order to form a network of journalist for them in all the provinces of Iran. One of the more absurd charges they wanted me to confess to was that I had conspired to build a network against the Islamic Republic, which was based on my brief correspondence with a journalist in Shiraz whom I hadn’t actually met. But I resisted, and they never got the confession they sought.

49. On February 11, 2005, my mother came to prison and informed me that my verdict had been issued. I had received 14 years in prison. Up to this point I had not yet seen my lawyers. Seifzadeh had accepted me as a client after I received my trial verdict which was around late February. However, they wouldn’t allow him to pursue my case. Not until I received my verdict on February 7, 2005, did the courts allow me to obtain a lawyer. Since it hadn’t been announced that Seifzadeh was to represent me, Shirin Ebadi expressed interest in representing me and joined my legal team. Another attorney, by the name of Parviz Jahangir-Rad ultimately joined the team as well.

50. My verdict was four pages long. In accordance with article 508 of Islamic Penal Code, I was to receive ten years imprisonment for collaboration with the hostile government of the United States through interviews with RadioFarda. In accordance with article 514 of the Islamic Penal Code, I was to receive two years for insulting Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader. In accordance with article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code, I was to receive one year for propaganda against the regime. In accordance with articles 512 and 610 of the Islamic Penal Code, I was to receive another year for creating confusion amongst the masses, creating anarchy and inciting the general public to revolt. I received the maximum sentence for all four of my indictments. The interrogator came to see me only once after I got the 14 years prison term. I quarreled with him and demanded to know why I had received 14 years. From that point onward I told them not to contact me again. I was told that if I apologized for what I had done, I would be forgiven. But I refused.

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Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Travel Restrictions