The torture of a 17-year-old in Iran

A teenager's story, with graphic photos, of abuse at the hands of Iran's religious paramilitaries, the Basij

Published June 24, 2009 7:24PM (EDT)

The pictures you are about to see are not from someone who supports anarchy, he is not even a part of the "DUST" that Ahmadinejad called his opponents. He is just a 17-year-old boy who was supposed to take the university entrance exam within a month before his fingers were broken and the finger webs were cut with a blade. He was arrested violently in the parking lot of a living complex without even taking part in any of the recent activities, and after more than 24 hours he returned home while his face was fully covered with blood and one could only see his eyes. These pictures are taken hours after his return home, his bruised face and broken nose cannot be shown due to his and his parents fear from the security guards. This is a summary of his story:

"It was around 12:30 a.m., and I was with my friend, his brother and his brother's wife. We were talking right in front of his place, which is about 2 to 3 blocks away from my place, while a group of people escaping entered the alley and took refuge in houses with open doors. My friends' place is in the middle of the alley so nobody took refuge there, and we went in and closed the doors. His brother and his wife went in building and asked me to join them as well, but since I was not feeling comfortable with his family, my friend and I stayed out in the parking."

"All of a sudden agents in black uniforms and helmets carrying batons broke the door and entered. We tried to hide behind the big trash bin at the end of the parking but one of them saw us, whistled and informed the rest of them who were just leaving the parking. It was just baton strikes all over my body after that, and we were transferred to the minus 4 level of Ministry of Intelligence building. There were a lot of riot police in black uniforms like those on the streets there. They were mostly non-Farsi speakers, and those who spoke Farsi kept telling us they could kill us right away and no one would ever know, they were also insulting us with very bad words."

"One of them asked me if Mr. Khatami would come save us, while they were breaking my fingers and cutting the finger webs. Although I swore a thousand times that I had not voted and had never participated in any demonstration, they didn't care and just kept beating me hard. I fainted once or twice but there were some of us who fainted every time their bones were broken, and as soon as they gained their consciousness, the riot police started beating them again. I was trying to contract my muscles to avoid further bone fracture."

"This continued till around 1 p.m., when they took us to another place, where security guards were in charge. We were then interrogated by the militia. Again, they kept beating me although I told them that I have never participated in any demonstration. In general, they were less harsh than the previous ones. In the evening, we were transferred to a police station where normal police with green uniform hung us by our hands (you can see the signs of the string around my wrists on the pictures), they hung some of us upside down and started beating us again."

"Around 2 AM, they took us to a police hospital where they just stitched the web of my fingers that were still bleeding and bandaged my head without any stitches. They released us in a highway, I think they knew we did nothing; otherwise they would not release us. I am surprised how I tolerated all the tortures and survived. I didn't see anyone dying there; a lot of people just lost their consciousness, but I guess the baton strikes were so harsh that brain injury or internal bleeding was inevitable. I can never forget the scenes I saw there."

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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