TEHRAN, 5 Jan. (IPS) In a dramatic twist of events, at least two of the four journalists and owner-writers of weblogs who had publicly “confessed” to their “mistakes and wrongdoings” said the confessions have been made because of tortures they have been subject while in prison, according to a former vice President Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi.
We had been told to confess to sexual relations with some high-ranking government officials and reformist personalities.
The admission came after five of nine journalists and writers of weblogs, brushing aside all fears, told a presidential Committee of Surveillance and Follow up of the Constitution, of which Mr. Abtahi is a member, of psychological and physical tortures they received from interrogators while in prison.
“We had been told to confess to sexual relations with some high-ranking government officials and reformist personalities, or give the name of friends, accusing them of working for foreigners, or making accusations against some known people, if not, our families would be badly harmed, wives raped, children abducted and killed etc.”, Hanif Mazrou’i, (Ms) Fereshteh Qazi, Hamid Qoreyshi, (Ms) Mahboubeh Molaqoli and Nader Pour revealed.
Their chilling stories were published by Mr. Abtahi in his personal webolog “Webneveshtha”, that was latter hacked on orders from the authorities.
The revelations were in total contradiction of those made earlier by Omid Me’marian, Rouzbeh Mir Ebrahimi, Shahram Rafi’zadeh and Qolam Javad Tamimi, who, in writing documents and television statements, had talked of the “nice and human” behaviour of the prison authorities, the “decent” attitude of the interrogators, the “friendly atmosphere” of the prison etc admitting at the same time that they had been “brainwashed” by “agents of foreigners” to write article against the “sacred” regime of Islamic Republic and its top leaders.
One of them, Mr. Tamimi, went as far as confessing to military espionage by meeting a military attaché of an unidentified foreign embassy in Tehran, saying that “in any other nation, his guild would be met with execution while the magnanimous Iranian authorities decided to forgive him”.
It was with such a background that the Prosecutor of Tehran and Islamic Revolution Tribunals, the notorious Sa’id Mortazavi, better known as the “Butcher of the press” urged Mr. Abtahi and the Surveillance Committee to also meet the four who had lauded the Judiciary and thanked the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.
“We agreed to Mr. Mortazavi’s demand. Mr. Amir Ebrahimi and his wife, Solnaz and Mr. Me’marian turned up. We were expecting to hear same stories they had told the public. But to our great surprise, we heard totally different things from them. We told them they can say whatever they like or keep silence and leave. But they insisted to tell the truth: That what they had said before was lies. That they had made these confessions because they had been threatened in prison. That they had been tortured, held long hours in solitary cells. That they had been given the names of at least 40 personalities to accuse of sexual relations, alcohol drinking, drug addiction, activities against the Islamic Republic etc.”
According to Mr. Ami Ebrahimi, all details of the confessions were worked out by the interrogators, telling the prisoners that if they do not cooperate, their families would pay a heavy price. “We have been tired. We wanted to finish off. We were ready for doing anything they would demand”, he told the investigation committee.
All details of the confessions were worked out by the interrogators.
The new revelations, becoming another blow to the Iranian Islam-based Judiciary that is directly controlled by Mr. Khameneh’i, forced Mr. Mortazavi to admit that “something had gone wrong”, but he charged the Law Enforcement Forces for forcing the journalists into “faked confessions”.
Meanwhile, to “punish” Mr. Abtahi, who resigned two months ago from his position as vice-president for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Mortazavi prompted the State Prosecutor to accuse Mr. Abtahi of “distortion of facts, dissemination of lies, manipulation of public opinion and anti-State propaganda”. ENDS WEBLOG JOURNALISTS 5105