Thursday, August 20, 2009

The arrest, beating, and interrogation of Farhad M.

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Report from Farhad M., who was imprisoned from July 9-27,2009
Finglish text below

On the 18th of Tir (July 9), I was walking not far from Fatemi street. The street was busy, but no one was chanting at that time. It was about 5:30 when two guys in plainclothes approached me from either side. It was interesting that at that moment I had no sense of being part of a demonstration and was just walking normally in the street. Still, I was nabbed and put into a car and left there until about 9 pm. Everyone in the car was blindfolded the whole time, and then we were driven somewhere. Three days later, I figured out that we had been driven to Motahari Street. There we were randomly assigned to an interrogator. My interrogation went on until 1 am, but I was not asked any questions. I was beaten with a cable and with other things without being asked a single question. Unfortunately, I had things in my backpack that made things worse for me: films of demonstrations on my mobile phone and a notebook of writing for my weblog. After three days, I was transferred to Evin. Others were sent to Kahrizak. I was lucky to be sent to Evin where I was kept in solitary for one week. Twice a day, I met with an interrogator. They did everything to get me to confess. To demonstrate to me that they had no belief in anything, they even burnt the Koran in front of me.


When I was put in the cell with others, I understood that what happened to be was much better than what happened to the others. I was not raped. Among us there were some whose colons had been ripped because of rape.

In any case, I understood that all my conversations during the past three months had been recorded, and that they had everything. When they arrest someone and get their telephone number, they look at all of their email, all of their facebook activity, and all of their weblog activity. Because I had political posts on facebook, in my weblog, and in private correspondence, the accusations in my file are extremely serious: breaching national security and plans to overthrow the government, for which the worst punishment is execution. If you confess you get a lighter sentence, but still you have to have patience and wait for your court date, which has not been announced.

Barkhi az goftehaye yeki az zendanian havadese pas az entekhabate 22 khordad be name Farhad M. (zaman dastgiri 88/04/18 zaman-e azadi be gheide vasighe pishaz zaman-e dadgah: 88/05/05):

dar rooze 18 e tir nazdik be kheiabane fatemi dar hale ghadam zadan boodan. khiaboon shologh bood vali too oon moghe kasi shoar nemidad. hodoode saate 5:30 bood ke 2 nafar lebas shakhsi be samte man oomadan va az do taraf mano gereftan. jaleb inja bood ke too oon moghe man aslan halate yek tazahorahi nadashtam va kheili mamooli dashtam rah miraftam vali be har hal mano be samte ye machine bordam ke ta hodoode saat 9 oonja boodim baad cheshme hamaye oonayi ke too machin boodan ro bastan va be jayi raftim ke man baad 3 rooz fahmidam ke samte khaiboone motahari boode. oonja har nafar be toore tasadofi ye bazjoo barash entekhab mishod. bazjooyi man ta saate 1:00 tool keshid ke albate amalan az man hata soali porside nemishod balke faghat ba batoom o cabl o harchize dige yi kotat mikhordam be doone inke soalli beporsan. motaasefane chiz hayi tooye koole poshti e man bood ke ozamo badtar kard mese filmaye ke az tazahoram tooye mobilam bood va hata ye daftarche az dastneveshte haye weblogam. baad az 3 rooz ke oonja boodim be evin montaghel shodam albate bazia ro be kahrizak bordan vali man joze afrade khosh shanse boodam va be evin raftam. oonja yek hafteye too enferadi boodam ke roozi yeki 2 bar bazjoo be soragham mioomadam. oona baraye eteraf gereftam harkari mikardan. baraye inke neshun bedan be hich chiz eteghad nadaran va hich chiz barashum mohem nist ghoran jeloom pare mikardan. vaghty varede band shodam va kasaye dige ro ham didam motavajeh shodam raftari ke ba man shode joze behtarin ha boode chon be man tajavoze jensi nashod vali beine ma kasayi oonja boodan ke dar asare shedate hamalate tajavoze jensi dochare paregi roode shode boodan.

be har hal oonja fahmidam ke tamame mokalemate afrad ta 3 mahe ghabl zapt mishe va hamaro daran. faghat zamani ke adam dastgir mishe va shomareye adam ro be dast miraran hameye ina va hata tamame email ha, safahate facebook va weblog kamalen chech mishe. man be dalile dashtane matalebe siasi facebook, weblogam va mokalemate poshte tell etehamati too parvandam daram ke kheili sangine: ekhtelal dar nazm va amniate omoomi va eghteshashgari, talash baraye bar andazi nezam va ... . badtarin hokmi ke mitooni baraye in jorm ha vojood dashte bashe edame ke albate dar soorate ezhare nedamat va pashimani anjam nemishe vali be har hal bayad ta rooze dadgah ka hanooz ham elem nashode baraye hokm sabr konam.

Cross-posted at Vote for Iran

Sunday, August 02, 2009

False confessions, biting satire, Facebook roundup

Long overdue review of Facebook posts. I have been working hard on the United 4 Iran event and Vote for Iran for awhile now and neglecting this blog.

We tried velvet, match revolution... excuse me I can't read this... cartoon by Nik Ahang Kowsar

"We tried velvet, match revolution... excuse me I can't read this... cartoon by Nik Ahang Kowsar"

A few weeks ago I went to a lecture by the author of Torture and Democracy, Darius Rejali. (Link to 90-minute lecture on google video) I was one of a handful of people for what was a fascinating discussion. (I first became interested in Rejali's work because of his discussion of taarof in his earlier book, not because I am somehow obsessed with torture.) He made several points including: a) torture does not work to elicit the truth often enough to be called even remotely effective and b) it is surprisingly difficult to get people to make false confessions. They will withstand quite a bit of pain before they will lie.

Anyone who has been following events in Iran knows that beating and torture has been a part of the incarceration of many political detainees. False confessions have been part and parcel of the Islamic regime since its inception. This time around, people in Iran have been sabotaging state television broadcasts through coordinated power outages. Nobel prize winner, Shirin Ebadi has called for people to turn off their televisions instead of watching the lies spread by Iranian state tv. Demonstrators have chanted in favor of those on trial, and no one, save the most gullible, believes that the confessions are even remotely based in fact. Friends have been sharing articles about and images from the trials, including this one: