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Torture still scars Iranians 40 years after revolution

TEHRAN (IRAN): The halls of the previous jail in the center of Iran's capital now are hushed, befitting the sounds of the museum that it has grow to be. Wax mannequins silently painting the horrific acts of torture that after had been carried out inside of its partitions.

But the surviving inmates still take into account the screams.

Exhibits in the former Anti-Sabotage Joint Committee Prison that was once run below Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi come with a anxious man trapped in a small metal cage as a cigarette-smoking interrogator shouts above him.

In a round courtyard, a snarling interrogator is depicted forcing a prisoner's head below water whilst every other inmate above hangs from his wrists.

As Iran this month marks the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of the shah, the surviving inmates who suffered torture at the hands of the rustic's police and dreaded SAVAK intelligence carrier still undergo each visual and hidden scars. Even these days, United Nations investigators and rights staff say Iran tortures and arbitrarily detains prisoners.

"We are far from where we must be as far as the justice is concerned," mentioned Ahmad Sheikhi, a 63-year-old former modern once tortured on the jail. "Justice has yet to be spread in the society, and we are definitely very far from the sacred goals of the martyrs and their imam," Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The SAVAK, a Farsi acronym for the Organization of Intelligence and Security of the Nation, was once shaped in 1957. The company, created with the assistance of the CIA and Israel's Mossad, to start with focused communists and leftists in the wake of the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh.

Over time, alternatively, its scope was once widened greatly. Torture become fashionable, as shown in the museum's exhibits. Interrogators all wear ties, a nod to their Western connections. Portraits of the shah, Queen Farah and his son, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who now lives in exile in the US, hold above one torture scene.

"Following the coup, the shah's regime sank into a legitimacy crisis and it failed to get rid of the crisis until the end of its life," mentioned Hashem Aghajari, who teaches historical past at Tehran's Tarbiat Modares University. "The coup mobilized all progressive political forces against the regime."

Sheikhi walked with Associated Press newshounds in the course of the jail that after held him, constructed in the 1930s through German engineers. Black-and-white pictures of its 8,500 prisoners from over the years line the partitions. They come with current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Sheikhi, then 19, spent about 3 months in the jail and 11 months in every other after being detained for distributing anti-shah statements from Khomeini, then in exile.

"Four times I was tortured in two consecutive days, every time about 10 minutes," he recounted. "They used electric cables and wires for flogging my (feet) while I was blindfolded. The first hit was very effective; you felt your heart and brain were exploding."

Even extra horrifying was once the torture software interrogators and prisoners known as the Apollo, named after the US lunar program. Those tortured sat in a chair and had a metal bucket strapped over their head, like an area helmet, that intensified their screams.

"They put my fingers and toes between the jaws of the vises firmly, whipped the soles of my feet with cables and put a metal bucket over head," Sheikhi mentioned. "My own cries would twirl around inside the bucket and made me delirious and gave me headaches. They would hit the bucket with those cables as well."

Ezzat Shahi, every other former prisoner who planted bombs focused on state constructions, recounted having pins hammered below his nails that might be heated through candles.

"Hanging from the wrists while your hands were handcuffed crossed behind was the most intolerable torture," Shahi mentioned.

The horror of the torture stunned 20-year-old museumgoer Ameneh Khavari.

"I did not know that the torture might have been this agonizing, such as with the metal cage torture device," she mentioned. "I had known that there was torture then from movies about the pre-revolution times, but would not have imagined that they looked like this."

As the revolution took grasp, protesters overran the jail. Then Iran's Islamic govt started using it as a prison as neatly, calling it Tohid. Human Rights Watch has accused Iran of using each Tohid and Evin prisons for detaining political prisoners. Tohid, then run through Iran's Intelligence Ministry, closed in 2000 below reformist President Mohammad Khatami after lawmakers sought to near prisons no longer below the regulate of the judiciary.

Today, Iran's govt faces fashionable international grievance from the UN and others over its detention of activists and the ones with ties to the West.

"Iranian authorities use vaguely worded and overly broad national security-related charges to criminalize peaceful or legitimate activities in defense of human rights," in step with a document launched in March 2018 through the place of work of the UN's particular rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

Iran has criticized the UN's creation of the particular rapporteur's position and called its findings "psychological and propagandist pressures."

A chain of Westerners, together with Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, had been held at Evin Prison. Rezaian is suing Iran in US federal court over his detention, alleging he faced such "physical mistreatment and severe psychological abuse in Evin Prison that he will never be the same."

Since the revolution, a number of former prisons from the shah's time have closed, changing into museums and shopping shops, even though new ones had been constructed. A former mayor of Tehran even planned to make Evin Prison a park at one level. Funding never got here thru, alternatively, and the site remains a prison these days.

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