IRAN: Jailed former government official tells his story
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A former government official in jail for nearly three months after Iran’s disputed presidential election has given an account of his time in detention, speaking along the sidelines of a court appearance this week in Tehran.
Just four years ago Abdollah Ramazanzadeh (right) was the official mouthpiece for the Iranian government, the equivalent of the White House spokesman, under the presidency of the moderate Mohammad Khatami.
But just hours after the June 12 election, Ramazanzadeh was forcibly arrested and locked up in prison. Now he’s being held by the same government he once worked for.
Despite gruelling interrogations, he has apparently refused to crack and deliver a televised confession, as have some of his allies.
Here are excerpts:
After 80 days in custody, I still don’t know what I’m charged with.
During this time, I’ve been cross-examined many times. In all interrogations, I was blindfolded and the interrogator was always behind me and I never saw his face. The interrogations began around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. and continued up until 3 or 4 in the morning.
I was always under pressure to make press appearances [confessing to crimes] similar to those held for Mohammad Atrianfar and Mohammad-Ali Abtahi. The bailiffs promised me better detention conditions if I accepted to talk to journalists. So far, I have rejected their offers.
They try to accuse me of attending in illegal rallies, but I was arrested only several hours after the preliminary tally was announced. I was beaten savagely while I was being arrested. My head and ribs were broken and I still bear bruises on my body. My young son who was with me was also beaten up.
I was taken to Evin Prison. Two days passed until I was given tissue paper to nurse my head injuries. I was held 76 days in solitary confinement and I was granted family visitation only once. I am totally uninformed about my family, and they about me. With the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, I was moved to another cell with quite better conditions because my first cell had no toilet.
My detention is a politically motivated retaliation. I don’t know why I’m held in solitary confinement while I don’t even know what I’m charged with.’
-- Los Angeles Times