Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Victims and Witnesses

Grievance Letter from Prison by Behruz Javid Tehrani

Behruz Javid Tehrani/ABF translation
Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation
June 25, 2006

Political Prisoner Behruz Javid Tehrani's Letter from the Terrifying Raja'i Shahr Prison in Karaj

In the name of the Iranian nation.

Hail to those who were killed on the path to freedom.

Exactly seven years ago in July 1999, I was a 19-year-old who, like all other students, wished for the best for my beloved homeland and its people. I wanted the whole world to have the best opinion of Iranians and to be envious of their circumstances. All of us young people wished to be free and determine our own destiny, which we regarded as the absolute right of every human being. At that age we believed that the country bequeathed to us by our fathers, with all its problems, belonged to us and that we could rebuild it.

On the evening of 9 July, however, all these beliefs were shattered. On that evening, even the smallest protests and rallies by my friends in the university dormitory were met with bullets, batons, chains, and teargas. They threw my classmates from rooftops and riddled my friends with bullets. When we participated in peaceful demonstrations against this criminal act by a regime, which we mistakenly believed was elected, the Basiji and the militia (the Ansar-e Hezbollah) crushed us in the most brutal manner. I still remember the innocent face of a young female student who had been severely wounded after being stabbed by three Basijis, as well as that of another student whose eyes were ripped out of their sockets by the Basijis. I continue to have nightmares about a woman who was being beaten with chains with blood gushing out of her face. I remember well the teargas, batons, kicks and punches.

They used the most vulgar expletives when they arrested me. And when I protested, I was beaten up in the harshest manner by a dozen Basijis for about 15 minutes. I remember the feeling very well.

When I was taken for the first time to the frightening Intelligence Detention Section 209, at the age of 19, my knees trembled as I walked, blindfolded, and every agent who passed by would kick me, throw a punch at me, slap me, or at the very least, yell an expletive at me. I remember this well.

Yes, I remember very well the interrogations accompanied by slaps, kicks and expletives, even the time when the interrogator shoved his revolver into my mouth to try to force me to confess to what I had not done.

Months in solitary confinement were followed by a court session that lasted a few minutes without the right to a lawyer, and ultimately, an imprisonment that I had not even imagined. My mother was crying outside the court, while my knees continued to tremble. Seeing my mother's tears, I burst into tears myself. Yes, I remember it well.

I was exiled to Raja'i Shahr Prison [also known as Gohardasht Prison] in Karaj; a prison known as the most frightening prison in the Middle East; a prison which, according to the prison classification system, is reserved for murderers and thugs; a prison that sends female prisoners to Arab countries at the end of their prison terms by the chief warden (Mr. Shekari) and the head of the Karaj Revolution Court (Mr. Montazer Moqaddam). I spent four years in that prison amongst murderers, thugs, and pandering prison wardens, without permission for even a one-day leave from prison. Until one day, my sister weeping over the telephone broke the news of my mother's death

Again, I cried and my knees trembled. Yes, I remember it well.

The prison authorities would not even grant me a few hours leave to attend my mother's funeral.

Sometime later, I received a notification. A criminal, who called himself my leader, had pardoned and granted amnesty to me. A few days later, I was released. And what a bittersweet freedom it was. My friends, students who had been arrested at the same time as me remained in prison. Manuchehr and Akbar Mohammadi, Ahmad Batebi, Abbas Deldar, Mehrdad Lohrasbi, and many other students were still in prison, and they have not been freed to this day.

When I was released from prison, I made a decision and a pledge to myself not to abandon my struggle until all imprisoned students and prisoners of conscience were freed. Yes, I remember that decision well.

Seven years have passed since the first protest of July 9, and the Iranian nation is getting closer and closer to the end of the Shahnameh*. Since that day, I have been arrested, beaten up, tortured, and imprisoned several times. Due to torture by agents of the Intelligence Ministry, I lost 50 per cent of my eyesight as they inflicted a severe blow to the back of my head.

I continue to cry for the courageous friends who have lost their lives on this path, for the happiness and prosperity that is the right of the Iranian nation and of which it has been deprived. Yes, I continue to cry, but my knees no longer tremble.

Long Live the Homeland

Behruz Javid Tehrani

Independent Political Prisoner

Raja'i Shahr Prison (Gohardasht), Karaj

*Shahnameh is the “Book of Kings,” an epic poem by Ferdowsi

Behruz Javid Tehrani Deprived of Visitation and Medical Treatment