Esmaeil Bakhshi, Iran’s prominent labour activist: “I was tortured, kicked and beaten to the brink of death without reason or any words to the extent that I could not move for 72 hours in my cell”.
An open letter from Esmaeil Bakhshi (a representative of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane workers) on his experience while incarcerated and severely tortured.*
An invitation to Hojatoleslam Alavi, Islamic Republic’s Minister of Intelligence for a live television debate.**
Mr. Alavi, while I was unjustly incarcerated for twenty-five days by the Ministry of Intelligence, such suffering and agony was forced upon me that I have not yet been able to overcome and get rid of their effects and have had to resort to psychotropic medications for relief. During this period two significant queries have constantly occupied my mind, and you are the main person responsible for answering them. The honorable people of Iran and I have a right to know the answers to these questions.
First, in the first few days of my incarceration I was tortured, kicked and beaten to the brink of death without reason or any words to the extent that I could not move for 72 hours in my cell. They had beaten me so much that even sleeping was excruciatingly painful for me; and today, nearly two months after that hard day, I still feel severe pain in my broken ribs, kidneys, left ear and testicles. Interestingly, the torturers described themselves as the Unknown Soldiers of Imam Zaman while they were constantly abusing me and Ms. Gholian with most vulgar sexual insults and kept on beating her up too.
But worse than physical tortures were the psychological tortures. I don’t know what they did to me that I had become like a drowned rat and my hands are still shaking. I, who the earth trembled beneath my feet before that, was humiliated and turned into a different personality, and despite taking psychotropic medications I still at time experience severe neurological and panic attacks. At this juncture I have a question for you as the Minister of Intelligence, and as a member of clergy: From an ethical and human rights’ point of view and the religion of Islam, what is the verdict for torturing a detainee? Is it permissible? If yes, to what extent?
The second query, which is far more important to me and my family than all the physical and psychological tortures, is the issue of how all my communications with my family members were monitored and listened into, by your intelligence apparatus. My interrogator told me, “We know everything about you; we even know how many times your wife has had arguments with you because of your activities”. I asked him, “how do you know?” he said, “your conversations were intercepted for a long time’, which greatly enraged me during interrogations. Now, my query and my family’s question for you, as the Minister of Intelligence and a clergyman and religious figure is this: Based on moral and human rights’ principles and the religion of Islam, is eavesdropping on the most private conversations of people permitted? Based on what right is your intelligence apparatus allowed to monitor private phone conversations between me and my beloved wife???
Hence, I, Esmaeil Bakhshi, invite you, Mr. Alavi, to a live television debate to hear your responses to these queries.
January 4, 2019
14 Day 1397
* Translated and redistributed by IASWI based on the original source in Farsi
**Source: Esmail Bakhshi’s Instagram page. https://www.instagram.com/p/
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International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
January 6, 2019