It was an attack that sent shock waves around the country prompting six consecutive days of unrest across Iran.
The notorious Evin prison became Ali's new educator. He was interrogated and charged for being a protester. He was brutally beaten, forced to confess crimes of which he never committed, and he was imprisoned for nearly four years.
The Islamic Republic practices a similar style to Stalin, using forced confessions to prosecute the open-minded activist in Iran. This is not a 30-minute television drama; and unless you've been deprived of the basic necessities for weeks on end or longer, and physically attacked by guards each night, it may impossible to see yourself admitting to a crime you didn't committed.
Arrests usually occur in the dead of night. Individuals later find themselves held in detention without any formal charges whatsoever. And after days or weeks of torture it is easy for the mullah to obtain self-incriminating confessions. The Islamic Republic is focusing on destroying the individual's reputation, dignity, and honor one by one. They sow seeds of contention, enmity, friction, and tear to pieces the best of human characteristics.
The Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic often arrest and persecute people not necessarily for what they did, but for who they are and what the Republic perceives to be a threat. Their targets have been those groups of people who were acclaimed or fluent with foreign languages, educators, members of pen organizations, writers, poets, intellectuals, and of course the journalists. [Read about the death of Ziba Kazemi.]
I ran into Ali recently and he gave me permission to tell the world his story. Ali is not his real name, but he fears that certain details or any likeness of or about him could still jeopardize the safety of his relatives living in Iran.
He recalled how he was interrogated. He spent most of his time in solitary confinement and they told him he'd waged a war against Allah, which is a crime punishable by death. According to the words of the merciful and compassionate God of Quran, "The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Prophet and make mischief in the land, is to murder them, crucify them, or cut off a hand and foot on opposite sides...their doom is dreadful. They will not escape the fire, suffering constantly." 5:33
While it is difficult for him to speak of the experience, Ali first describes harassment and intimidation of the Iranian youth by the Islamic Republic lackeys. He concludes the Islamic Republic is set upon world domination through Islamic wars and conquests, and for this they need to brutalize Iranian people to bring them to the will of Allah.
Terror, brutality and violence are necessary tools to achieve their ultimate goal in regional and world domination. At times, Ali was confined in a very small cell. It was too small to sit or lie down. He was confined in that position for months. Others, he could hear, faced a more terrible fate. They were subjected to inhuman tortures.
They all were subjected to different methods of torture. Some escaped by going insane. He paused for a moment as I caught his eyes filling with tears. He deeply sighed and asked, "Where were the human rights and humanitarian groups during that time?"
There were four revolutionary guards who took turns beating Ali, usually during the nighttime hours. "They would strip all my clothing, take me into a room and put on my knees with my head down," Ali said softly. "A bearded, heavy man pushed the edge of his knife down against the back of my neck.
"He told me, he would slit my throat if I didn't confess that I am part of the 'monafeghin' organization, the 'MKO' who actually were the fuel behind the Islamic Revolution."
Time would stand still with the edge of the knife against Ali's throat. "Suddenly, you hear nothing except silence.
"One wonders how these people live with themselves. Do they have children of their own? How would they like their kids to be treated like animals?"
I kept gazing into his eyes with disbelief. He started mumbling as though there were not enough time in his lifetime to express his story. This is the story of so many innocent Iranians who are forced to waste their precious time inside the Islamic Republic prisons for simply wanting a better life not only for themselves, but for their fellow countrymen as well. To the Islamic Republic, this is called waging a war against Allah.
"Some would sit in solitary confinement, starving and rotting. Many die due to the heavy beating and they remove the bodies quickly in the middle of the night to an unknown area," he said.
"My cell was very small and impenetrable. The walls were made from heavy cement. No windows. The doors were made of thick metal and very strong. On the ceiling almost 6 meters above, there were two ventilation holes from which you could hear the screams of others, repenting and begging the torturers to stop beating them up."
The methods of torture he described ranged from the use of mechanical instruments for which to inflict tissue damage, to psychological and physiological techniques, such as solitary confinement and sleep deprivation.
Ali had a lot more to say, certainly more than a caring man can bear even second hand. Ali and others like him are prisoners of conscience. They believe in freedom, justice and liberty. These three principles of humanity are forbidden in the Muslim countries. These words equate to waging war against Allah, thus death will be awaiting you.
Iranians must learn that history does not repeat itself. We repeat history! What is sad is that the world community and, in the case of Ali, Iranian communities outside Iran do not do enough to expose the Islamic Republic's war against all living things.
Unfortunately, most Iranians in the West are more interested in making money than helping people like Ali. Iranian communities have become extremely nonchalant, thus, they have become pseudo-Iranians, or merely spectators.
Amil Imani is a frequent contributor to Think & Ask. He is a poet, writer, literary translator, essayist, novelist, and a political activist who speaks on behalf of those in his native, and beautiful land of Iran.
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