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Witness Statement: Ali Kantoori

Ali Kantoori, socio-political activist, describes his mistreatment and torture in solitary confinement in Evin prison due to his efforts to improve working class conditions, and abolish the compulsory veil and inequality between men and women in Iran.

 

Full Name: Ali Kantoori

Date of Birth: February 5, 1981

Place of Birth: Qazvin, Iran

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: April 14, 2010

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to an in-person interview with Ali Kantoori. The statement consists of 51 paragraphs and 9 pages. The interview was conducted on April 14, 2010. The statement was approved by Ali Kantoori on May 5, 2010.

 

Witness Statement

 

Background

 

1. My name is Ali Kantoori. I was born on February 5, 1981. Before I was arrested, my occupation was distribution of food-stuffs. I was also involved in sports from 1989 to 2007. In fact, that was my main occupation. In Iran, however, only soccer players and those involved in a couple of other sports can make a living. So I had to have another job.

2. I am a socio-political activist. As a socio-political activist, my goals are equality of men and women, improving conditions for the working class and abolition of the compulsory veil. I consider the latter a necessity for society, and I work towards it.

3. My activities were mostly socio-political and they took place within the context of NGOs. I was active with an NGO named Kanoon-e Emrooz (Today’s Association) dedicated to fighting drug addiction. With much hardship, one of my friends obtained a permit for us. We met every week and made pamphlets out of the addiction-related material that we had obtained from the State Welfare Organization. Then, we distributed the pamphlets in the Tohid neighborhood, which was one of Qazvin’s largest. We tried to get the local residents involved. The Imam at the local mosque allowed us to hold weekly meetings at the mosque. We mostly concentrated on prevention rather than treatment. We did, however, provide information about treatment and treatment facilities. We begged school principals to distribute our pamphlets. We also distributed the pamphlets at a seminar.

4. I was involved in organizations that worked on children’s and women’s rights, but I was not very active in them because they operated in Mazandaran and Tehran. I mostly worked in Qazvin, and I focused on fighting drug addiction.

5. I was also a member of Students for Freedom and Equality. The activities of Students for Freedom and Equality mostly focused on social issues. We worked a lot on the situation of the working class. Technological advances mean that more wealth is created. How is it then that the situation of the working class is getting worse? We held meetings with labor organizations.

6. Women’s issues and pressuring the government in order to achieve women’s rights were very important to us at Students for Freedom and Equality. The veil is not compulsory anywhere else in the world. Yet Iran, with thousands of years of civilization, has a compulsory veil law. We only took symbolic actions at our events on March 8th and December 7th, because it is not possible to take substantive action in Iran. It is the ideology of the Islamic government, and one cannot oppose it. We also were active in other provinces through NGOs. Our positions were based on the political situation at the time.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure, Witness Statements