Torture, Harassment and Humiliation, the Story of Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi
HRANA News Agency – Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi, Baloch political prisoner, is serving a sentence of 28 years imprisonment in exile, in the prison of Ardebil. This prisoner has numerous experiences of physical and psychological tortures being done to him, and in part of his narrative, he says: “One of the physical tortures was that, they tied me to the bed, which they call it a miracle bed, in a way that
they laid me down on the bed and handcuffed my hands and feet, tied together, with ropes and tied my thumb separately with tightrope to avoid any movement, and then with a thick cable brutally hit on the soles of the feet.”
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi, son of Noor, born in 1986, married, was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence agents in Zahedan, on March 14, 2011.
At the time of Mr. Hassan Zehi’s arrest, his family including his wife and his0 6-year-old disabled child and his 12-year-old brother were arrested and “interrogated and threatened” for several hours, in the Intelligence office. According to those close to the family, as a result of this arrest, Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi’s wife has got psychological problems which even after 6 years, affects her, his disabled son’s situation has worsened and his brother is suffering from depression and is a school dropout.
Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi was under interrogation and torture in solitary confinement for 9 months after his arrest.
He has told one of his close relatives: “I was held in the worst condition for 9 months, including being held blindfolded in dark solitary confinement, and extreme physical and psychological tortures and I wished to die hundred times a day.
One of the physical tortures was that, they tied me to the bed, which they call it a miracle bed, in a way that they laid me down on the bed and handcuffed my hands and feet, tied together, with ropes and tied my thumb separately with tightrope to avoid any movement, and then with a thick cable brutally hit on the soles of the feet.
And my brain was full of pain because of that, and then after the torture my feet were swollen and bleeding and while I was not able to walk even one step, two of torturers took my hands and made me walk. I used to faint because of the pain intensity, but they did not leave me and started to beat me and said that I had to walk and hit me to the walls when I was blindfolded and then threw me to the dark cell. Although the toilet was inside the cell but I could not walk because of the pain and I had to pull myself on the floor and get help from the walls to reach the toilet.
There was psychological tortures also, along with physical tortures, such as; threatening me that if you do not confess, we will bring your family and torture them in front of you.”
Finally, after 9 months, Mr. Hassan Zehi was sentenced to 26 years imprisonment and exile to Khalkhal on charges of “acting against national security through waging war against God and propaganda against the regime.”
The political prisoners in Zahedan prison, including Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi, were severely beaten by the prison guards, on May 25, 2016. These prisoners were on hunger strike because of insulting prisoners’ religious views by the prison authorities. These Prisoners were beaten as severe as that it was said that “the head of more than 30 prisoners had been broken, and the eye of one of them has been blind”.
Mr. Hassan Zehi said: “They are not going to leave us alone, and the prison authorities treat us differently so that we had to have our peaceful protest and this protest was used as an excuse for further suppression, so that we were brutally beaten and transferred to the prison quarantine, and kept there handcuffed for 2 months along with physical and psychological tortures.”
This Baloch citizen was exiled to Khalkhal prison on July 3, 2012.
Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi, regarding the Khalkhal prison’s “very bad condition” told his relatives: “Khalkhal prison had a very bad situation. One ward was for convicted prisoners. Prison capacity is fifty people, but it had terrible population, I mean 130 prisoners which I can say, 120 of them were drug addicts and notorious street sleepers.
The hygiene situation was dire and there was only one shower for all prisoners, which was out of order most of the time, and had no water pressure. There were only 3 toilets, which were not in a good condition.
Telephone communication’s situation was not good and there was only a phone booth, with all that crowd, and I could manage to have a 3-minute-long phone call every other day which was enough just for greetings.
The other issue was the compulsory classes which started at 8 am in the praying room of the prison, and many times we had no time to have breakfast, and it was held for 3 hours nonstop and that was a very heavy mental pressure on me and other prisoners.
In addition to all the difficulties, in the freezing weather and in severe snowstorm, we were forced by the prison guards to walk in the prison yard to be counted, and we had to endure extreme cold for nearly an hour.”
Three years of enduring these hardships caused Mr. Hassan Ali Zehi, along with Ali Pejgol, other Baloch political prisoner, who was recently transferred to this prison, participate in all
prisoners’ protest against those conditions.
Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi and Ali Pejgol, had been beaten severely so after one year the signs of baton and hose hits were visible on their body and now after 2 years, the signs of electric shocker’s impact can be seen.
These prisoners were transferred to Ardabil prison after hours of tortures, along with ten other prisoners, on June 6, 2015.
In Ardebil prison, to “welcome” these prisoners, prison guards made a “horror tunnel” with baton in their hands, and for more than a month they were held in the solitary confinement in Ardebil prison, handcuffed, beaten and harassed, humiliated and insulted. According to these prisoners: “we were always handcuffed and shackled and we had little food like animals, some food that did not satisfy even one person, was put on the plastic and thrown into the cell.
Anyone from any institution would have carte blanche to beat us up, even once chief of Atonement Department, Mr. Anzabi, came to us, me and Ali Pejgol, and then, when the soldier showed us to him, he started beating us until we fell down.”
Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi and Ali Pejgol were tried by Khalkhal Court for the prison riot, and charged with disturbing prison order, on August 3, 2016, and were sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment, 100 billion IRR atonement and 74 lashes. The verdict was issued while the prisoners denied having any role in the prison guards’ assault and claimed that they had been targeted only because of their political and attitudes orientation.
Now, Noor Ahmad Hassan Zehi, along with five other political prisoners in exile, Ali Pejgol, Abdul Karim Shah Bakhsh, Maher Kabi, Mohammad Saber Malek Reisi, and Shir Ahmad Shirani, are enduring imprisonment in a ward which is called “the Death ward” of Ardebil prison. The ward that is more like a “quarantine ward” is a 12-meter room with 18 beds and a small yard. There are a lot of limits in this ward, including lack of land line phone and contact time restrictions. Every day, prisoners are taken to the storage, outside the ward, for a 15-minute-long phone call.
According to the relatives of these political prisoners, all prison staff treat them with discrimination. These prisoners are always threatened, attacked and humiliated due to their type of
charges, differentiation on their language and religion. They have the same behaviors even with the prisoners’ families, who come a far way to see these prisoners, so that some of these prisoners, including Mr. Hassan Zehi have asked their families not to come to visit them.