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Witness Statement: Fariborz Baghai

In this witness statement, Fariborz Baghai, a Tudeh Party leader, describes his imprisonment from 1981 to 1993 and in particular his experience during the summer of 1988 when thousands of political prisoners were summarily executed.

 

Name: Fariborz Baghani

Place of Birth: Tehran, Iran

Date of Birth: 1940

Occupation: Physician

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: June 8 & 9, 2009

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to an interview with Fariborz Baghai. Baghai passed away on July 21, 2010.

 

Witness Statement

 

Childhood

1. My name is Fariborz Baghai. My friends call me Borzoo. Both names are historical names mentioned in Shahnameh. I was born in 1940 to a large family in Tehran. I have five brothers and two sisters. I am second to the youngest. My father was a middle rank employee at the Ministry of Agriculture. He was often on mission. Thus, all my siblings were born in different provinces. I was the only one among them who was born in Tehran because my father was forced to stay home then.

2. In 1946, my father was transferred to Karaj animal husbandry based in the village of Hyderabad. I was six years old then and enrolled in the first class of the only primary school of the village. The school had four grades. Students in grade two were teaching students at grade one, students in grade three were teaching students in grade two, and students in grade four were teaching students in grade three. The school had one teacher. He was the headmaster, the teacher and footman.

3. Running into a dispute with his boss for having a different opinion, my father was forced to retire. He fell sick because of the dispute and forced retirement, and died in the age of 54 in 1947. I was studying in grade two.

4. My mother and my eldest brother who was 15 years older than me took the house responsibility and brought us up. I belonged to a middle class educated family in Iran. My uncle had an important position in the National Bank of Iran. He bought a house for his sister, my mother, and my brother in Tehran by securing a loan through the bank. Thus, we settled in Tehran. My mother and brother repaid the loan on a monthly basis. I studied in Tehran from third to twelfth grade. At this time, one of my brothers got a job in the Ministry of Finance, another one joined the army and my sister became a teacher.

5. In May 1959, my brother sent me to Germany for studies with 2,000.00 Toman, the equivalent of 1500 Deutsch Mark. I took an intensive German language course for two months in a boarding school and paid all my money for fees to school. Then I started working from July to October. In 1959, Germany was in the period of reconstruction and needed construction labor. I started working and got paid 2.60 Marks per hour which was a considerably amount. I saved some money.

6. On October 15, 1959, I joined a medical college because I had been admitted in Iran to medical school. After three months, my savings were finished and I resumed working. I lived with a person who worked at the Opel Company. He helped me to get a job with the Opel Company where I worked during the winter and summer vacations to save some money for my university expenses.

7. I passed the first term very successfully. The subject’s taught during the first year in medical university in Germany like physics, chemistry, and botany were easy for me because I had studied them before in Iran from ninth to twelfth grades. Therefore, I become one of the top 10 best students in the first term.

8. The governor of Rheinland-Pfalz, the state where I was studying, declared that he would pay 200 Marks every month to the 10 top best foreign students. I became one of the beneficiaries of his promise. My expenses were 300 Marks every month and I had to work to make an additional 100 Marks every month, though I worked less than before. I worked at an American hotel located near Mainz and washed dishes. It was there that I met my wife.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination