Posted by: bahareiran | September 2, 2010

“He placed the noose around his own neck”: Scientist recounts Iran prison experience

A physicist from the country of Azerbaijan specializing in laser technology, who spent a year and a half in Iranian prisons and was recently released and extradited to his native country, has revealed his experience at the Iranian regime’s prisons as well as the regime’s tactics to hold him captive.

In an interview on Tuesday, Dr. Rashid Aliev said he was surprised by “arbitrary trials and violations of prisoners’ rights in Iran.” He added that he was most inspired by the high morale, persistence and world outlook of political prisoners at Ward 209 of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

“I am always worried about their future,” Dr. Aliev said in reference to the political prisoners. “Although they were sentenced to death, they had unbelievably high morale and continued to engage in political conversations. It was as if their determination to bring change to their society could not be erased from their minds.”

Farhad Vakili, political prisoner, hanged on 9 May 2010

“One example was Farhad Vakili. Several days before he was hanged, we had an interesting political discussion. I later heard from his friend that at the time of his execution, this political prisoner gladly placed the noose around his own neck.”

Mr. Aliev said he worked at Baku University and the Sciences Academy as a physicist specializing in laser technology until 2006 when he was headhunted by an Sazan Electronics company in Iran.

“When I was first came across the Iranian legal system, I was shocked. After a year and four months in prison they issued a sentence in absentia without allowing the defendant to have an attorney. They also distorted and fabricated evidence. The interrogator told me to draw the equipment that I was working on. I told him the equipments are available in the laboratory. But he insisted that I have to draw them on paper and I did it.”

“Later, they had offered those drawings as evidence in court, pretending that I had stolen them with the intention of smuggling them out of the country. On top of the page they had written, ‘I confess that I wanted to smuggle these documents out of the country.’ On the bottom of the page there was my signature where they had told me previously to sign after drawing the schematics.”

Aliev added, “I was shocked by this fabrication and deception. I told them I built the laboratory myself with technology from 30 years ago, which I imported into Iran myself. Why would I possibly want to steal this?”

Recounting his prison experience, he said, “I was going crazy due to stress. I spent 50 days in solitary confinement and was on a hunger strike for five days. I wished for death every single day. I experienced my own grave in solitary confinement.”

“For a 57 year old like me, one year was equivalent to 20 years. There was both physical and psychological torture in wards 209 and 350 [in Evin], especially the latter. Prisoners did not receive any food or fruits and humidity pierced through your bones. Doctors did not carry out any serious treatments. Prisoners’ letters never made it to their destinations.”

“I want to tell Iranian [regime officials] that no force would be able to block the path of evolution. Force is not the answer and will not produce any results,” he added.

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