Witness’s name & surname: Withheld
The place about which he is testifiing: Shiraz
Witness’s status: Injured/witness to firing of bullets at people
Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld
16 November, at about 09:00 – 09:30 am, a number of cars completely blocked the boulevard at Namazi Square. Some people got off those cars and said that we should join them (to protest) the rising price of gas. We did join them. Our numbers swelled every minute. The initial security officers were from the Pasgah (Base) who were not armed to the teeth. They came and tried to disperse the people peacefully. They tried several times but failed. The Shahid Motahari Clinic and the Namazi Hospital are located in Namazi Square. All armed forces were stationed at this Clinic. These forces were in police uniforms. They were on full alert and their cars and motor bikes were also parked there. The Base staff carried handguns but some others carried batons, shields, tear gas, and guns that fire plastic bullets.
The original Base officers were those who were not armed to the teeth, they were the Base staff. There were policemen, probably from the Zand and Khalili Intersection police stations. These police station officers and the ones from the Base carried handguns, batons, shields, shockers, and pepper spray; they carried guns in their hands too. Some of them carried rubber bullet guns and shotguns; they wore no masks.
There were a number of plainclothes men from the Basij and the Sepah who mingled with the crowd and filmed people. They instigated the policemen; they threw stones towards the officers from behind the trees to provoke them to attack the people. After about 12:00 pm, the atmosphere became very agitated. We had completely blocked one side of the Zand Boulevard. Simultaneously, others had blocked the industrial city ring road. Protests also began at Moaliabad, Sadra, and Golestan.
From around 12.00-12.30 pm, anti-riot and water canon trucks were staging around us and besieged us. The trucks were equipped with satellite dishes and a hole where heavy guns were put. There were one or two armoured vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Special Unit’s completely armed men and several personnel carriers arrived. When they got off, suddenly the atmosphere became tense. They issued orders of dispersal but we did not disperse. They aimed their guns. There was tear gas, shot guns, and rubber bullet guns. (They fired at) old and young, men and women; they did not care who they were firing at. But before they started to fire rubber bullets, the personnel carriers came forward and some of them started hitting people with batons on their necks and faces. Both the batons and the bullets were aimed above the waist. The forces that came on the personnel carriers were wearing masks; their faces looked strange. When they came forward, only one of them spoke (to people). It is true that there is only one person in charge but I believe that only the officer who was there in charge and spoke to people was Iranian, the others were not Iranians. they did not speak and showed no emotions at all; no words were exchanged between us. They were not Iranians at all.
These plainclothes men I am speaking of had hidden among the people; they threw water bottles at the police to provoke them to attack the people. After this, the police fired tear gas and aimed their rubber bullet guns at the people. The file behind them carried shot guns and things like that. Few helicopters flew over our heads at the Namazi Square; they flew towards Sadra and the industrial town. They flew so low that you could read the word “Police” written on them. The helicopters were for (the support of) the police and anti-terrorist forces.
One of the anti-terrorist officers aimed his pellet gun towards my face. Had I not turned my face, the first pellets would have struck my face. The officer fired at me from a distance of two meters. I could no longer walk as my legs were wounded. The pain was very intense; my legs were completely wounded. Those wounds remained with me for a long, long time; the scars are still there. Two persons dragged me and brought me beside the boulevard. Many students joined the people. They shouted slogans inside the college. But the doors were closed, and they did not allow anyone to go out.
Later, when I felt a little better, I got up and saw that they had completely divided the people in two sections: the front, and the back which is the Setad (or Imam Hossein) roundabout. Simultaneously, they would come forward and fire the tear gas and then rubber bullets, and shoot guns from a little behind. After this, there were the officers who would drive their motorbikes through the people. Those sitting behind on the motorbikes would hit the people with their batons. Concurrently, tear gas and rubber bullets would be fired. Personnel carriers would come forward and divide the people into two sides. Assault bullets were fired only in the air. They arrested a number of people. I saw that several people were stuck in a shopping center and the security police were trying to arrest them. Even four to five year-old kids were in the crowd with their parents; I do not know what happened to them. I saw firing in Namazi Square, Shiraz, and there were blood stains on the sidewalks.
Some policemen were throwing stones or whatever they had in their hands. They filmed from all sides, and it was not possible to distinguish who was a part of the police or crowd. There were a couple of kids below the age of 15 years. One of them, who was arrested, was with us up till the third detention center. I also saw kids below the age of 18 who were beaten up and arrested. They were arresting some kids. I thought of taking a photograph or filming. While I was filming, they arrested me as well. Four or five plainclothes men suddenly lifted me from the ground. Perhaps seven or eight of them threw me in the back of a vehicle on top of others. There was one driver and one person beside him. It was hard for us to breathe.
There was a 13-year-old kid, a youth of 17 years, and two others 20-30 years old. They did not commit much assault and battery against me but those of younger age were beaten with batons on their face and all over while getting off the vehicle. I did not receive much beating at the first detention center either. They had caught a couple of kids who were with their fiancée or cousin. The policemen tried to arrange a rendezvous with the girl and teased her. A gentleman protested this. The policeman hit him so hard in his abdomen that I thought he would die. They beat him in his abdomen, back, and head; then they threw him in the corridor.
A security policeman came and slapped all of us once or twice. Since the detention center had filled, they threw us in the prayer room. We sat there for about ten hours (squatting) on our two feet, facing the wall. We were not even allowed to move our heads. They obtained the passwords of our cell phones; they opened the locks and connected them to their systems. We witnessed aggravated assault and battery against two-three kids. There was a 13-year-old kid who had tattooed his hands and body. From the moment of his arrival, the agents made sexual taunts against him in the central detention center. They would say: “Which parts of your body have you tattooed? Have you tattooed it there too?” From the Soroush Detention Center, which is beside the Criminal Investigation Department and the third detention center, he was sent to a juvenile institution.
Those who were subjected to assault and battery were pushed to an isolated corner so we could not get any information from them about what had happened. One had bloodied lips. That 13-year-old kid had convulsions. It was so terrible that they had to call the ambulance. They gave him a number of injections then and there. The policemen prevented him from going to the hospital. After about a half hour his convulsions stopped, and he became stabilized. Suddenly, the security police would appear and take a number of people with them on the pretext of interrogation or whatever. They took him too several times. Both the policemen and plainclothes men committed assault and battery.
In the initial stages of my detention, they took me to a room that had several monitors. They threatened me there. They threatened all of us who were there with death. They said, “All of you are no more than 1000; we will kill you all.” The security police officer would come and write down names and conduct interrogation. A couple of kids were beaten up.
We had no access to drinking water and the washroom. There was no food at all for a couple of days. Men were arrested as well as women. A completely armed escort whisked us into a bus at night-time. I do not know how many vehicles were filled earlier. There were two vehicles in front and two behind. They were taking us to second Detention Center They brought (detainees) before and after us. We saw several injured people in second Detention Center; one of them had shotgun pellets all over his body – the entire vertebral column, waist, face, hands, legs, and head. Even almost two weeks after we were in the third detention center, no medical facilities were made available to him. Once an assistant nurse came to third detention center and said that he must go and (medical/x-ray) images must be taken of him. As long as we were there, they did not send him (to imaging center). Many were sick; they used to take pills or medications. I had a kidney problem; I requested painkillers. They said not to even think about it.
The newcomers would bring news like, for example, people have been killed in MollaSadra and Moaliabad or that there have been skirmishes in Koozehgari Shiraz, Zendan intersection, Rahmat Boulevard, and Park Ghouri. They brought two to three kids who were wounded. Their feet (head and hands) were broken. The interrogator wrote (in his report) whatever he wanted to, you were asked to just sign it. If you looked at the text for one moment, he would slap you in the face and on the head. He would push you, he would kick you to his heart’s content. Another person came there who looked like an interrogator. Later, they said that he was the judge on duty. We had to sign the papers. Afterward, the same person came to the third detention center and left. There were four-five other judges too.
There was a crowd of 20 – 30 persons at the second Detention Center and there were perhaps ten blankets (to cover them). The meals were served only once a day and that too from the leftovers of the staff. We had to put the food in the middle of garbage bag and eat from it. Drinking water was available only in the washroom. There were no sanitary facilities at all. The interrogations were filmed. They would say that we had threatened the national security and that we were sinners (criminals). The security agents made sexually suggestive taunts towards that 13-year-old kid in the second Detention Center and touched his hands and feet. We were there for three days. Then, we were transferred to the third detention center.
They took us away, fully escorted, at about 2-3 am. This time, the buses were fully packed. We were the last persons. They shoved us inside a Nissan vehicle with a refrigerator. It had the capacity for probably ten persons but about 30 of us were crammed in that vehicle. We saw about 40-50 boys of 13, 15, and 18 years of age; there were elderly people too. At this stage, they sent young kids under the age of 18 to juvenile institutions and separated them from us. They simultaneously brought women from second Detention Center to the third detention center and put them in the women’s block. We saw 50–55-year-old women and 17–18-year-old girls. We saw one who seemed to be sick. She was slumped over in the chair and one of the women was taking care of her.
At the third detention center, we wore only underwear and yet the functionaries put on gloves touched all our private parts. Then, they admit us to the quarantine. Two persons were lying there in a bed. The floor of the room was completely occupied. The next day, they said that they wanted to vaccinate us. Once, they said that it was anti-influenza vaccine, then they said it was anti-HIV. About 10-15 kids received the vaccines but we refused it. During this period, we were interrogated repeatedly. As the number of arrested persons increased, they threw us in blocks. The capacity of each block was 100-150 persons. But they herded almost 350 of us in one block. A couple of kids had pain, they protested, and an argument ensued followed by beatings. Another man visited the block, they said that he was in charge of the public health department. He looked at the wounds and made notes. But regretfully there were no medical and healthcare facilities. They used only Methadone.
Most families had no knowledge of the whereabouts of their loved ones. After eight days, they would know of their whereabouts. When we were transferred from the quarantine to the block at the third detention center, a lawyer in the bloc whispered into our ears and warned us to be careful as a spy policeman was planted among us. When we came to the block, there was a man there. I do not know what he was in charge of. He said that he did not want to condemn anyone but warned us to be careful about what we said to avoid headache later.
They sent us with escort(s) to the quarantine. It was filled with arrested people including an 80-year-old man, university professors, students, mechanics, and farmers. There was a man with epilepsy who would have fits of seizure in the third detention center. Seizures would put pressure on him, and he would urinate involuntarily. There were absolutely no medical facilities. We were interrogated again. Among the arrested people, there were those who were arrested on the street along with their wives. There was a man whose wife had delivered a child at the hospital and he was going to a pharmacy to buy baby formula milk. There was a man who had come to his house to park his car in the driveway and was arrested without the knowledge of his family members. There was a man who received a call and was told to come to the police station, answer a few questions and go back.
Another kid who developed blood clots in his eyes said that he could not see at all. They gave him no medical aid at all. Even his head was broken. There were seven to eight Afghans among the arrested persons. One of them was assaulted.
Boys narrated (at the detention center) that there is a shopping center at the Paramount Intersection, called Zeytoon. There, the Special Unit agents had thrown someone down the second-floor staircase. They had attacked (the center) and arrested everyone. They said that person was a 21- 22-year-old young man. They said that they had thrown a couple of persons from the top of the bridge at the Zendan Intersection. I believe it was on 17th (of November) or the afternoon of 16th.
I believe there were 4-5 judges, for (the trial of) 400-500 people. (The accused persons) were interrogated based on first in, first out, and the lightness of their offense; they were released accordingly. We were accused of disrupting law and order. They issued a security bail for us and I was released. My first court was the revolutionary court. He told me to go to the criminal court I attended two sessions before a judge. But during interrogations the interrogators and the security policemen told me that my file will remain open for ever and if anything happened, they would come after me and summon me.
It was said about the hospitals that the wounded persons were frightened, they received no medical care at all. They were left on beds to themselves. The security agents openly threatened the doctors and nurses. Two persons died in a village called Ismailabad.
On the 17th and 18th (of November), Shiraz, Sadra, Golestan, and the south entrance to Shiraz became particularly out of control. I heard that they requested the Army to send forces. Someone who observed the aircraft and used to work at the airport told one of my acquaintances that armed Special Units were dispatched from Tehran.