NYTimes: “Top Reformers Admitted Plot, Iran Declares”
Michael Slackman has written a piece about the story of the alleged confessions by the Iranian reformists politicians in the New York Times today. Although, many of these prisoners have not contacted their families for more than two weeks, some of the ranking Iranian officials have claimed that they have confessed to their wrongdoings in the prison. It shows how those people are under a huge pressure. (Read the article here)
CAIRO — Iranian leaders say they have obtained confessions from top reformist officials that they plotted to bring down the government with a “velvet” revolution. Such confessions, almost always extracted under duress, are part of an effort to recast the civil unrest set off by Iran’s disputed presidential election as a conspiracy orchestrated by foreign nations, human rights groups say.
Reports on Iranian Web sites associated with prominent conservatives said that leading reformers have confessed to taking velvet revolution “training courses” outside the country. Atef, a Web site of a conservative member of Parliament, referred to a video of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as vice president in the reform government of former President Mohammed Khatami, as showing that he tearfully “welcomed being defrocked and has confessed to provoking people, causing tension and creating media chaos.” …
….The pressure was agonizing, he said, as he was forced to live in a small cell for 35 days with a light burning all the time and only three trips to the bathroom allowed every 24 hours. He was forced to shower in front of a camera, he said. At one point the interrogators threatened to break his fingers.
“They came up with names, and topics,” he said. “They gave me a three-page analysis and said read this and include it in your confession. My interrogator once said, ‘You have written seven years for the reformists; it’s O.K. to write for us for two months.’ ”
Mr. Memarian said that even in 2004, his interrogators were most interested in several leading reformers, including Mr. Abtahi, who at the time was an adviser to the president. When he was finally released, and after his confession was published by Fars, he was asked to testify before a committee led by the reform government investigating confessions, which included Mr. Abtahi. Mr. Abtahi, who has not been heard from since his arrest on June 16, understood even back then just how vulnerable he was, Mr. Memarian recalled.
“Abtahi said, ‘We cannot guarantee anyone’s security,’ ” Mr. Memarian said. “ ‘We know what happened to you guys. When you leave this building we do not know will happen to you, or what can happen to us in this committee.’ ”