The story of Reza

A Twitter poster who is regarded as reliable and informative posted a series of tweets overnight which, put together, tell the story of one of the students arrested and taken to the notorious Evin prison in north Tehran. There is of course no way of verifying the account, but it has more than the ring of authenticity (and I speak as one who has also passed through the portals of that infamous revolutionary hostelry). I have edited all the tweets into the following narrative:

Reza was released from hospital yesterday. He is banned from university and now is a starred [marked by government] student.

He spent his first 48 hours of arrest at level -4 of the Interior Ministry building without food or water. He said all sorts of people were there and some of them were just unlucky people just walking in streets and captured for no reason. Reza estimated around 200 people were in each room and there was not enough space even to sit on the ground

They didn’t open the plastic handcuffs for a day and a half and randomly beat up people in there. The only exception was that they didn’t hit arrested people directly in the face.

There was also an awful problem of there being only one toilet for all the people in there and an impossible time limit of around 1 minute for each person.

He said in the second day some plainclothes people came with papers forcing people to sign them. The papers were prewritten confessions, all in different handwriting, saying the signer is a member of Moussavi’s organization and they were paid to go to the streets and say things and they know they have violated national security and Islam.

Reza said some people signed them and some others just faked their signatures and  names. There  were not enough confession papers for all the people.

Around 3am on day two they started moving people in vans. Reza said a driver was talking to a Basiji about the fact that Evin prison is full and what should [they do?]. Apparently they released some people on that night and moved Reza and some selected people to Evin. Reza had no idea why they selected some of the people and where they moved the others.

It took nearly three hours to get to the prison; Reza said the driver seemed to enjoy wandering through  the streets.

Another hour passed just standing in the row at the entrance of the prison and filling out forms. On the first day at Evin prison staff started searching for severely injured people and gave them some first aid. According to Reza some of the injured people had already passed out and a taxi driver looked like he was dead by that time.

All types of government agents came and went in the next couple of days, moving people, forcing them to walk or just stand for a long time. Reza said it looked like they had no idea what they should do with so many people.

A man came and said they would be released that day and an hour later another came and said  they would be in prison for 10 years!

They ran another confession show at Evin, this time with new accusations. In the last days Reza said it looked they were getting a little more organised and started searching for any special case among the arrested people.

Unfortunately Reza’s mother had told everything she knew over the phone to a man calling from Evin. The man promised Reza’s family they would release him if he was really innocent. But after they knew Reza was a student they moved him to a harsher environment with some other people. Some students from the Polytechnic university were also there.

They prevented them from sleeping by keeping  them standing all night. In the morning a man who introduced himself as intelligence said he would record their confessions [the poster actually used the word ‘confections’ which you might think is more appropriate!] with a camera. He promised that if one of them confessed in front of the camera he would free them all and they would blur his face and there was nothing to worry about!

At night around 10pm they released Reza and his family instantly moved him to a hospital for internal bleeding.

I skipped some of the incidents at Reza’s request. He’s very weak, both mentally and physically, and I don’t want to put him under more pressure of any kind right now.

— If you want to read how they actually read, they have been independently collated here.


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