Hear the sound of my plea!
I am Shahrokh Zamani, member of Painters’ Worker Union of Tehran and the Investigating Committee. I have been a resident of Tehran for thirty years and on June 5, 2011 upon entry to the city of Tabriz to visit my parents; I was unlawfully arrested by the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence without any charges, evidence and documents. After forty days of both psychological and physical forms of harsh tortures, I was taken to the central prison of Tabriz. In those 40 days of my unlawful and illegal detention I was on a hunger strike in order to show my protest to my situation. I lost 27 kg or 59.5 lbs and I never gave a confession. Despite the fact that there was not a shred of evidence against me and that my interrogators never got even one line of confession out of me; the First Branch of Revolutionary Court of Tabriz spitefully charged me with “ spreading propaganda against the regime and forming Socialist groups”, which carries a mandatory 11 year prison sentence. It was obvious in the sentencing that I had denied all charges from beginning which shows the false and trumped up nature of the charges. I asked the presiding Judge for the evidence against me and how he justified giving me such a long sentence? To which he answered: “who do you think I am Sir, I am nothing more than a subordinate of the chain of this system.”
Tabriz prison is one the most notorious prisons, known for its violent and murderous guards. The guards are well known for their inhumane, murderous and unlawful ways. The prisoners have no rights such as, furloughs, day passed and/or conditional releases. Even borrowing library books are completely under the control of the prison officials who put the prisoners through a myriad of the absolute worse physical and psychological tortures. One of the worst of these tortures is the unleashing of the violent inmates (common criminals) upon the political prisoners. Since there are no rules, this is done on daily basis and there is not a day without some kind of an outbreak or problem between these two groups of prisoners.
In one room which is 20 meters, there are 21 beds and there are usually over forty prisoners in that room most times. There are always 7 violent common criminals amongst us to physically intimidate us and to spy on us.
Political prisoners are put in close contact with those with Aids and Hepatitis which along with the teasing of the guards is most unnerving. In 2011 they transferred me from my cell, which in comparison to where they were sending, I now consider Heavenly, to section 12 of the Intelligence Office in order to torture me. This was a quarantined area reserved for dangerous criminals. This could only be tolerated for three days at most. Then along with Mr. Ghali Dozaj from P.K.K. (Kurdistan Workers Party), I was taken to the methadone section 15 to a room with 50 people who had Aids and Hepatitis. To protest this we went on hunger strike for days.
In spring of 2012 without me having committed the slightest infraction the officials falsified documents saying that I had requested a transfer, I was moved to Yazd. I was met with kindness there and then I was accused of leaking information about the conditions inside the prison to the outside and I was returned to Tabriz to the treatment Section 8. There, we the political prisoners wrote 14 articles highlighting the lack of our rights in prison such as day passes, conditional releases, use of exercise facilities, technical and professional classes….(Few seconds are not audible).
So the officials inside the prison forced the common prisoners to give a complaint against me and a few others. They said we insulted the Leader, swore at the common criminal inmates, and encouraged other worker’s union prisoners on going on strike. This file was looked into and because of this I was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison near Karaj. Later two of those prisoners who had been forced to complain against me regretted it.
Mr. Ahmad Shaheed:
Despite of my family’s complains to legal institutions, including the Office of the Leader and the Supreme Court of Human Rights I was still faced with intimidation, threats and was still given no answers and the run around. I remember telling my lawyer parts of these threats from these institutions due to pressures put on my family. One Supreme Court expert said that sadly the charges against me were terribly unjust in that there was not the smallest of legal reasons for the judge to have given me such a sentence. One Islamic human rights person told my wife there was nothing that my wife could do regarding my situation from here as the decision of my sentence was decided by the higher ups and that her only hope was contacting and referring my case to International Human Rights bodies. The Judge who was forced to deliver my sentence based on three reasons/accusations said after the sentencing that he was just a subordinate in such complex matters and merely held a position of submission to the Leaders.
The only hope we political prisoners have, are the Human rights organizations.
Lastly I want to emphasize that the offices of the intelligence services have threatened my life both directly and indirectly: by poisoning, exposure to prisoners with Aids, unleashing the mentally ill, violent and dangerous inmates on me, and by forcing the prisoners around me to encourage me to escape so that I can be shot with a bullet while trying to escape. I have removed myself from such inmates after they were named and exposed. Some good, kind guards in the prison have given me a warning about this sort of thing and that I should use the example of Mr. Emani, an engineer, and that it is no longer possible for the guards to help prisoners escape and that I should be careful and watch myself regarding such suggestions and activities. So I am telling everyone, if I die in prison for any reason it is done by the officials.
In hopes of a humane future, without discrimination and cruelty.
I warmly shake your hands and thank you in advance for all your hard work. I thank you enormously.
Shahrokh Zamani Prisoner of Rajai Shahr Oct 20, 2012
Translated for CFPPI by Shadi Paveh