Witness’s name and surname: Withheld
The place about which he is testifying: Isfahan
Witness’s status: Wounded/arrested/witness to firing at the people
Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld
16 November, I wanted to go from Sepahan Shahr (a few kilometres away from Isfahan) to Isfahan at 11 in the morning. In Sepahan Shahr there were minor skirmishes at one or two intersections, but they were put down quickly. The Police broke shop glasses at Ghadir Avenue. The Police were stationed at every intersection of Sepahan Shahr.
People had turned off their car engines between Sepahan Shahr and Darvazeh Shiraz Square. There were several police officers in dark green uniforms carrying batons. Some of the soldiers carried AK-47. There were black vehicles belonging to the Special Unit or Nopu. Some Nopu agents carried batons, glass shields, and weapons; some of them carried only weapons. Their faces were covered, and their uniforms were black and had the Nopu logo. They carried a weapon which I believe was either MP5 or one of those weapons made in Iran. Police Special Forces uniforms are camouflage and jungle colour. Their faces were covered, and their weapon was Kalashnikov. After one and half hour the officers began to move forward, and the Special Unit and Nopu began to beat up the people with batons. They hit the right and left side of people’s bodies with batons. A woman, with a child, came towards the Nopu officers and said that she was just passing through the road. But they did not allow her to talk and hit her shoulder and head with baton. They pushed the tip of the baton into the child’s belly with such force that the child fell on the ground. The mother wanted to explain to the police that she was only a passerby and was taking the kid school or home, or something like that. But she was not given a chance and that is how they were beaten up.
I saw many people with bloodied faces or heads and torn clothes. I saw one officer turning the shield around him and hitting people on their heads or faces. The Special Unit fired shots in the air with their Kalashnikovs. I saw one Nopu officer kneeling, aiming his weapon at people, and firing three times.
Several plainclothes men joined the fray. They were on motorbikes and in groups of two; they carried chains and handguns. They had sticks covered with leather and metal screws. That is, it served as an all-metal mace. They hit people with these and (leather) belts. One of these plainclothes men hit a boy’s temple with his mace. His eyeglasses broke into pieces and (he) fell on the spot. His face was bloodied, and he made no movement at all. I believe a large percentage of the wounded were picked up and removed by the plainclothes men or the Special Unit men. I did not see any ambulance there. The Police or the Nopu wanted to open the road momentarily for the plainclothes men. At this juncture, the people and I went to Sofeh Terminal. The moment I wanted to pass, the Nopu officer hit my waist and left shoulder with his baton. He punched his shield straight onto my face and I was wounded in the face.Firing by the Nopu officers intensified at that moment. Certainly, they did not fire in the air because I saw that those firing were squatting or had brought their arms forward. They were firing at people from a distance of 60-70 meters. After one and half hour, they were able to move several cars and open the road with the use of weapons and violence.
There were about 1500 to 2000 persons at Darvazeh Shiraz. I was able to go towards the bridge from behind the Sofeh terminal. I stayed at my friend’s house for one hour. Then, I came to Darvazeh Shiraz where Special Unit men were concentrated but the Nopu officers were fewer. I witnessed officers hitting the people with batons. They hit people above the chests without exception. I also heard a few shots being fired in the air. In one case, I saw a relatively young boy and girl coming down from the overhead walkway. The Special Unit officers struck them with batons in the middle of the stairs and tore down their clothes. They became completely unconscious; their heads and faces were bloodied. Then, from the middle of the dry riverbed of Zayandehroud, I came home. People were gathering in the riverbed. The sound of shots and screams of the crowd could be heard until it got dark. There were a Basij center. I saw those 3 or 4 officers in plainclothes standing on its rooftop and filming the riverbed.
17 November, I came out with my friend at 1-2 pm and saw an officer on the wall of Si-o-seh Pol, mounting a camera. I saw a Nopu officer in black uniform on the rooftop of Cinema Sahel which faces Si-o-seh Pol and the river. My friend said that he saw a weapon with a long barrel. Around 2:30 – 3:00 pm, I saw that the crowd in the riverbed was swelling by the minute. I also saw the officers’ vehicles coming towards them. I went in Zayandehroud (river). Five to ten minutes later, the Special Unit and Nopu surrounded that area with batons and shields, and we fell in their trap completely in the riverbed. While we were engaged with those officers, the man beside me fell to the ground without us hearing any shots. He was a young man of about 27- 28-years old. His left shoulder was bloodied and blood clots oozed out from his shoulder. A large hole appeared on his shoulder; clearly, they had shot him with an assault bullet from above.
I heard a lot of shots being fired; I also saw straight shooting seven to eight times. The Nopu officers would shoot while squatting or standing straight with, I guess, a MP5 (gun). I saw two shots fired directly by the Special Unit. I saw two men: one bent on his abdomen and the other fallen down. They were at a distance of about 70-80 meters. I could not get close to him. But I heard people shouting, “we will kill the one who killed my brother.” This suggested that the man had either died or was in a critical condition. We Iranians normally shout this slogan when someone has killed one of us.
The Special Unit officer hit me once again on the face, with his baton, and blood started to ooze from it. I sat on the ground and the officers continued to beat me up on my head and waist, then the people dragged me behind. I believe, I saw seven-eight other persons whose clothes were torn and who had blue and black hands and legs. Two of those wounded men, who I saw, were definitely below the age of 18. There was a boy who had no (traces of) beard or moustache and the other was a girl of about 13 or 14-years and had no scarf on her head. I saw at one place that they had hit the face, head, and body of two persons with something causing a 7-8 cm deep wound. It was full of blood. They did not allow any wounded person to leave that place and get away from there. If we wanted to remove a wounded person, they would beat us up and seize the wounded person. Every wounded person who was not surrounded by people would be dragged back, thrown in their pickup trucks, and arrested. That is how they were able to arrest a large number of people in the thick of things.
The wounded persons who were in the crowd could only be taken away by the people in their cars; one could not take them to the hospital. The officers would not allow you to move so you could take someone to the hospital. Even the ambulance was not permitted to come over there; I did not see any ambulance.
When I came up on the bank of Zayandehroud (river) they surrounded me, I saw three-four Special Unit officers who attacked me and started to beat me up while also screaming, cursing, and heaping abuse on me. I was unconscious for about five minutes. When I came to, I saw that they had tied my hands behind me with something. They wanted to transfer me to their Police Toyota when the crowd stormed (them) and my friend was able to quickly bring me inside an alley. We were somehow able to escape.
When they attacked us, we used sticks and stones that were on the surface of the river or otherwise cold weapons, if you could call them so at all. But the people did not have anything like knives, daggers, poniards, broadsword, hunting guns, or assault weapons. We stood at a very safe distance from them. Much of the stones and wood we threw at them, they would catch it with their shields. I did not see a stone hit an officer hard, causing pain.
18 November, I walked the entire route on foot. The Special Unit had a strong presence. They arrested me. I asked them what I had done. They beat me up on the head and face and shoved me in their black van. They brought in another three boys and a girl. Then, they took us to a base. The police officers assaulted us there, they threatened and abused us. They said that we were spies. I believe there were another 17-18 people in that yard. At least five or six of them were under the age of 18, I believe. Two of them were crying and were very restless. It was clear that they were children indeed. they blindfolded me and took me to somewhere else They slapped and kicked me for about 20 minutes while I still had my eyes blindfolded. Then, a man came for interrogation. He said that they had evidence against me, that I was accused of insurgency against the system, revolt, and spying for foreigners. Then they shoved me in a cell-like room. It was a 2 x 4 rectangular room with a toilet at the end and water-pipe without a tap. But there was no ewer used in Iranian toilets. Drinking water was also from the same pipe. There was a dirty blanket but no pillow. They served no food on the first and the second day; later they gave one meal a day at nighttime. I believe it was leftovers which they served in a bowl without a spoon.
They did not take me to court. I told them many times that I wanted to defend myself before a judge. Sometimes they would say, “tomorrow”; other times they would say: “Shut up, we are the judge and the jury.” I asked for a lawyer, they laughed at me and said, “You think it is America here?” I was interrogated almost every day. There was a camera in the corner of the room. I do not know whether it functioned or not. The first week they beat the hell out of me. They kept me blindfolded during interrogation. Subsequently, they only handcuffed me. The interrogators were replaced every three days, I believe. They insulted my parents; they called me a homosexual. They said, “If you do not speak (confess), we will rape you right here. We will execute not only you but also execute your whole family who have raised you. You do not belong in this country.” They seized my mobile and never gave it back to me. They said that they had discovered many things from my mobile.
Among the things they did to me was that they would remove my pants and shirt and tie a wet cloth around my body and quickly hit my body. It was extremely painful. They would make me sit on a chair, handcuff my hands to the arms of the chair, put a relatively thick and many-layered piece of wet cloth on my thighs, put a hot iron on it, and start questioning me.
They would put a multi-layered thick piece of cloth on my leg, pour some water on it, put an iron on it, and plug it to electricity. They would turn the dial of the iron that you thought was cold and threaten to turn it on high heat. At that moment, fear would grip you in anticipation that the iron would get hot and steam would burn your leg. Even now, I cannot iron my clothes as that very bad memory still lingers in my mind. I have been psychologically damaged in this respect. In terms of physical damage, I will present documentary evidence which will make you realize what condition I am in.
I have suffered bad burns on my thighs and have marks of beating with wet cloth. That wet cloth caused a lot of swelling and the burns caused by the iron required medical treatment. I requested medical attention repeatedly but they paid no heed; they swore and cursed at me instead.
My face was completely damaged. When they arrested me, they should have bandaged and set my nose, but they did nothing at all for me. I suffer from migraine too. I made repeated requests for painkillers. I had a headache all the time. My left eye was affected by the baton hit on my head; my eyesight has considerably weakened. They promised, twice, to let me talk to my family (on the phone) if I signed a paper given to me. I tried to read the paper, they hit hard on my head and forcibly took my signature. Subsequently, they refused to allow me to talk to my family on the phone. One of the papers they forced me to sign was already written and printed. They said that the second one contained the interrogations and my own talk.
They transferred me again to the first base. They released me the day after that, before noon. I have heard from people that over 100 persons were killed in Isfahan and the surrounding area. One person was killed in a neighbourhood called Jooiabad.