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What happens to those arrested in Iran?

June 27, 2009

With the government of Iran stating there are around 450 protesters who’ve been arrested, here’s a look into what’s in store for them, link courtesy of Pitney’s blog.

The place was one of the semi-abandoned military camps outside Tehran that date back to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. There we were shoved into metal freight containers – the kind used for shipping. They stripped us naked and gave us two blankets each.
Inside there was nothing to sleep on and no electric light. There was no way to tell the time except by the daylight when it shone through the watchman’s peephole at one end and a ventilation vent at the other.

I was in the container with four other boys. We were all barely 20. And we were inside for two weeks — naked, powerless, and face-to-face with the fear of being totally at the mercy of our captors.

Food was thrown in once a day. From time to time, we were taken out for questioning. And both those processes helped to destroy whatever shreds of our dignity remained.

The first interrogation sessions were simply beatings. Men who were clearly convinced that we had violated all laws of God and man kicked us until we fell down. Then they kicked our faces. As they did, they shouted “Allahu Akbar,” calling on God to be pleased with them. They were skinheads, but with hair and beards.

The escape route that people take — across the Iranian border, across Turkey, by ship to Greece, and overland to France — is well known. Some of those who are now in jail for protesting the presidential election results – if they are released — will undoubtedly take it, too. It is horrible, full of dangers, and as dehumanizing as being in prison.

I was tricked by traffickers as one group handed me off to another that claimed it had not been paid. So, I soon ran out of money.

I rode in freight containers. And I rode hanging onto the bottom of a speeding truck. That means sitting on a small metal bar a half-meter above the asphalt and hanging on with arms that become so paralyzed the muscles no longer contract. I was numb with fear.

With all that’s going on here, please keep the people of Iran in your thoughts. While the news plasters Sanford and Michael Jackson all over the screen, remember that there are thousands of Iranians fighting for a just election.

Nico Pitney is continuing to do an amazing job, much to Dana Milbank’s snotty dismay. Go eat some more sour grapes, Milbanks. Pitney, you rock!

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