Hell on Earth: Inside Iran's brutal Evin prison
ICC Note: In this article, Fox News brings us an inside report on Iran’s infamous Evin Prison, where “beatings, torture, mock executions and brutal interrogations are the norm.” Christians, who have been arrested for nothing more than their faith in Christ, make up some of the prison’s estimated 15,000 inmates, who also include killers, thieves, and rapists. It is possible that Evin may also be the home of American Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini for the next eight years, who was recently given the sentence for his Christian activities in the country.
By Perry Chiaramonte
1/28/2013 Iran (Fox News) -It is known as Evin University, but it's no school -- it is one of the world's most brutal and infamous prisons. And barring intervention by Iran's religious leaders, it could be the home of American citizen and Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini for the next eight years.
Beatings, torture, mock executions and brutal interrogations are the norm at Evin prison, where for four decades the anguished cries of prisoners have been swallowed up by the drab walls of the low-slung lockup in northwestern Tehran. Standing at the foot of the Alborz Mountains, it is home to an estimated 15,000 inmates, including killers, thieves and rapists. But the prison has also held ayatollahs, journalists, intellectuals and dissidents over the years, and few if any who have survived time in Evin could be surprised by claims of torture and abuse made by Abedini's supporters.
“To many Iranians, the concept of Evin prison is synonymous with political repression and torture,” Gissou Nia, executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, told FoxNews.com. “Today, anyone who is perceived to be a threat to the Iranian regime, including human rights defenders is kept within the confines of Evin and other notorious prisons in Iran."
“When you clear the gates, you are immediately blindfolded and brought underground,” Nemat told FoxNews.com. “They take you for interrogation. They take you to a hallway and sit you down. You are there for a long time. If you move or say anything you are beaten. You must sit perfectly still, while still blindfolded, and you can wait for hours, days or even weeks.”
Broken captives are then taken to an interrogation room, where the goal of inquisitors has little to do with getting at the truth.
“They are not looking for information," said Nemat, now a instructor at University of Toronto and author of "Prisoner of Tehran," a 2007 book detailing her ordeal and a second memoir entitled, "After Tehran". "What they want is for you to admit that you affected the national security of Iran.”
The bare feet of troublesome prisoners are lashed with cable to loosen their tongues. They're made to walk on swollen feet before the lashings resume, said Nemat, who added that many prisoners have died during this phase of interrogation.
Nemat survived and then endured six months of solitary confinement in Evin's 209 section, where cells typically had a toilet, a sink and no bed.
“The cells were just large enough to lie down," she said. "When you lay down at night if you stretched out your arms, you could touch the walls. Every day felt like 3,000 years.”
But the most harrowing experience Nemat went through at Evin came when jailers blindfolded her and led her out of a cell and down a corridor. When the blindfold was removed, she was facing a firing squad. As she waited for the cluster of rifle reports that would end her life, a guard pulled her away.
“He brought me back to my cell,” she said. “He told me that I was sentenced to death in court. I told him that I never had a trial and he said, ‘Yes you had a trial, you just weren’t there.'”
Like many other prisoners issued a death sentence, Nemat’s was reduced to life in prison. She spent another 15 months in another section of Evin, where she shared with as many as sixty other inmates in a public cell originally designed for just five or six people.