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Witness Statement: Mahmoud Roghani

In this witness statement, Mahmoud Roghani describes his imprisonment in Iran from 1983 to 1989. Roghani was a member of the Tudeh Party, a leftist organization, when he was arrested. He suffered severe mistreatment and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. In this statement, he describes his experiences during the summer of 1988 when thousands of political prisoners were summarily executed.

 

Full Name: Sayyed Mahmoud Roghani

Date of Birth: 1943

Place of Birth: Rey, Iran

Occupation: Electrician

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: June 9, 2009

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to an in-person interview with Mr. Mahmoud Roghani. The statement consists of 103 paragraphs and 22 pages. The interview was conducted on June 9, 2009. The statement was approved by Mahmoud Roghani on April 13, 2010.

 

Witness Statement

 

1. My name is Sayyed Mahmoud Roghani.1 I was a member of the Tehran Provincial Committee of Tudeh Party when I was arrested on February 6, 1983. I knew that I was under surveillance before I was arrested. Cars that belonged to the Islamic Republic forces were tailgating me everywhere. I was followed whether I was traveling on foot, by bicycle or by car to the Provincial Headquarters of the Tudeh Party in Tehran. In addition, two persons in a Paykan car were constantly monitoring my street in Amirabad in Tehran three weeks before I was arrested.

2. At the time, there was a major debate in the Provincial and Central Committee of the Tudeh Party about whether we would be attacked very soon. The Soviet Union had provided some information to the Party about an imminent attack. I remember the first time the Central Committee and Provincial Committee of Tehran discussed the issue of being attacked was four months before the mass arrest of the party members in 1983. In Tehran’s Provincial Committee, we discussed the danger but concluded that the party members should not go underground. I remember Kianouri2, the leader of the Party, said in a meeting in the Central Committee that the polit bureau had decided that Party members should not conceal its activities until they were attacked. He argued that it would be to the Party’s advantage if we could publish our “Mardom3 newspaper for one more day. Besides, Kianouri believed that going underground would harm the Party as it would provoke the regime into targeting the Party’s members and increase its suspicion that the Party had some secret plan.

3. Two weeks before my arrest, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Council (IRGC) had visited my uncle’s home inquiring about me. I was surprised that they had gone there as they knew where I lived. (Lajavardi4 had asked us officially to send him our residential address. We complied with his order.) I reported to Mr. Hajari, the head of the Tehran Provincial Committee, that they had gone to my uncle’s home looking for me and asked his advice. We deliberated about this incident and finally concluded that they wanted to find out my reaction. If I attempted to hide myself, they would arrest me and claim that Party members were hiding. Hajari advised me to report at the 10th Kommittee and to inquire why they had asked for me at my uncle’s home. I decided to follow his advice and to report at the 10th Kommittee. I packed some clothes in a small bag as a precaution in case I was arrested.

4. I had a responsibility at the Labor Branch of the Tudeh Party in Tehran. Before reporting to the Kommittee, I went there to delegate my responsibilities. There I met Ezatullah Zare who was the head of our branch in Tehran. He was my direct supervisor in the Party too. I briefed him on my decision and Hajari’s advice. He said I should not do it as the government had already arrested some Party members like Fariborz Baghai and some others whom were not released. He told me to wait and call Javanshir and ask his opinion. Later, Javanshir came and strongly advised me not to hand myself over. He said that the outcome of such an act was not certain and nobody knew what was going to happen to me and whether I would be released, remain alive or not. He added that if they intended to arrest me, they would do it as they had done with others. Thus, I decided not to report to the Kommittee.

1 This statement is not an endorsement of the Tudeh Party. By telling my story, I hope to shed light on a period in the history of Iran. I’m no longer a member of the Tudeh Party and I no longer believe in Communism.

2 Nur al- Din Kianouri was the first Secretary of the Tudeh Party from 1978 to 1983.

3 Mardom was the name of the Tudeh Party’s official publication.

4 Assadullah Lajjavardi was the general prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court at the beginning of the revolution and later was appointed head of Evin prison. He was assassinated on August 31, 1998 in Tehran when he did not have any official position.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Free Speech, Right to Protest