Another Tale of Torture Recounted in a Letter by Political Prisoner
In a letter to the Tehran Prosecutor, Gholamhossein Arshi, a 31-year old prisoner who was arrested following the Ashura Day 2009 [27 December 2009] protests, after he was identified by security forces in a photograph published on news websites, has written about his torture during interrogations and pressure to make fake confessions.
According to the letter which has been made available to Kaleme Website through the prisoner’s friends, Gholamhossein Marashi informs the Tehran Prosecutor that his interrogators wanted him to take responsibility for having set fire to several Anti-Riot Police vehicles. Faced with his refusal, his interrogators beat him and verbally abused him with profanities.
Arshi, who has been in prison for the past nine months, talks about his torture in his letter to the Prosecutor. “At this stage they used metal handcuffs to tie me to the chair, and started to beat me with wires and cables. Months later, cable marks and wire tracks remained on my arms and my legs as my cellmates would confirm. In their attempts to force me to confess to something I had not done, meaning setting fire to police vehicles, the interrogators did not stop at beating me with wires and cables. They set my legs apart while my hands were closed, severely squeezing my testicles and hitting on them, to the point where I would yell in pain and weakness. The answer to my begging and pleas for mercy was only profane swears,” writes Gholamhossein Arshi.
The prisoner also points out in his letter that when he told the judge about his torture, and while marks made by the cables used to beat him were still visible on his body, the Judge ignored his words and asked him to accept the charge of putting police vehicles on fire in order to save himself from the verdict of moharebeh, enmity with God, and to be released with only paying fines. The prisoner, however, only accepted responsibility for the photographs which showed him present during the Ashura Day 2009 gatherings.
Arshi was eventually sentenced to one year in prison at Branch 15 Appeals Court. During his nine-month imprisonment, due to poor prison conditions, he has embarked on hunger strikes several times. Currently at Ward 350 of Evin Prison, he suffers from kidney problems and in his letter he states that prison authorities refuse to provide any medical care to him other than dispensing sedatives.