These Walls Will Talk

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In 1957 the CIA helped the Shah of Iran to establish The Organization of Intelligence and National Security. SAVAK as it was known by its Persian acronym was a significant tool in persecution, incarceration and torture of revolutionaries and political prisoners. This continued up until the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Apart from hundreds of safe houses and unknown detention places, the horrific secret police had reserved one especial locale for the toughest of the revolutionaries: The Anti Sabotage Joint Committee building and detention center. This building with all its cells and its numerous torture machines and tools is today turned into a museum; A museum to stand witness to the cruelty of the torturers and the stubborn defiance of the imprisoned revolutionaries who braved intolerable harshness. These Walls Will Talk narrates the accounts of aged men and women who were once within these walls. They are no longer young but the horror inducing memories of this place is forever vivid in their minds. Ex-political inmates and the cells of this prison blend in once more to bring you the story of what has been done within these walls.

TIME CODE : 00:00 _04:58

Enter title:

The Organization of Intelligence and National Security known more as SAVAK was established in Iran under the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the CIA in 1957.

The organization lasted for 23 years until the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

Title: Tehran 1979

Reporter: The shah's Army has surrendered to the revolutionaries. even the curfew announcement couldn't stop the people to show up in the street . one year ago nobody could predict such a big change and that's yet another sign how unpredictable Iranians are. It looks like subsequent of shahs departure from Iran and Ayyatohah Khomani's arrival after 14 years of exile, everything held the events lead on to the down fall of Pahlavi Dynasty . inspired by this victory , everyone in the street seems ecstatic, calling for democracy. This is common all over the country. there is no sign of shahs secret police - SAVAK- anymore . The notorious SAVAK agents had even fled the country or been arrested. After the desolation of SAVAK, people took over the jail an release political prisoners . Iranians thrilled by passed changing events , have totally read themselves of horrific secret service. They shout for unity and equality. now in the middle of winter no one feels cold. You can't believe how people feel . seems like Iran's born again.

tehran, 2014

Reconstructing image

Director: Ready! Sound, camera, action.

Say! The address of the team house …the pronouncements …your fellows. Say, bugger!

Confess! Confess! Confess!

Tell me!

I don’t know.

Confess!

I don’t know.

With whom did you distribute them?

When was the appointment?

Hey, I’m talking to you!

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

In December 1972, I was arrested during an armed struggle. A bullet hit me in the leg during the struggle so I got arrested. They took me right here.

It was the worst place one can ever imagine.

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

It was many years ago, you know. Some events that happen in life are so tragic that remain etched in one’s mind for good.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

I began fighting against the Pahlavi regime since1969 or so. In fact, they called what we did as fighting later on. There were five or six of us known as the “Group of Zealous Young People”. We were brought to trial, with most of us were under the age of 18.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

It was June, 5, 1963 when I got familiar for first time with the struggle and Imam Khomeini’s movement.

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

In those years, there were about 60 groups Struggling against the Shah’s regime.

TIME CODE: 04:58 _10:00

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

One of them was my husband. He was a physician graduated from the University of Tehran. He then began his studies in general surgery as his specialty. I married him in 1972 and at first I got familiar with his dispositions, way of thinking and activates against the regime. I married him as I knew him.

Archival 1975 court :

Defendant no. 9, civilian Morteza Labbafinejad.

Good tidings to those who hear the words and follow the best of them.

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

In August 16, 1975 as he entered the clinic, he was arrested by the SAVAK agents and transferred from Tabriz to Tehran. I had to move from Tabriz to Tehran too because I had a little child and I was constantly afraid that he might be taken by the SAVAK. When I got arrested I was under the age of 18. I received a death sentence which was commuted to life imprisonment and then to two years because I was under 18at the time.

Javad Karimzadegan political prisoner:

I was arrested in the early 1973. I was, then, transferred to the Anti-Sabotage Joint Committee. There I faced great pressure.

Bahamn Naderipour (Tehrani ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator :

The Joint Anti-Sabotage Joint Committee was established about February 1972. I was sent to work there in May 1972. I believe that the committee is modeled on Latin America against organizations there.

Javad Karimzadegan political prisoner:

They locked me in a room for several hours. Then they came in and handcuffed me. They beat me very hard and threw me on my books asking me to piss on them.They were very foul-mouthed people. To cut the long story short, my eardrum got ripped.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

They beat and tortured us just for following Imam Khomeini’s ideas, admiring him and practicing a religious. Yes, for practicing a religious.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

My friends prepared a communique against one of the clerics who had prayed for the Shah to show him as a religious man.We were a small group of a few members and with the help of our teacher we identified this cleric and my friend took his turban off his head.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

No matter where, anything has to do with freedom, democracy or open political atmosphere used to be seriously clamped down.

Feridoun Tavangari (Arash ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator:

By and large, the interrogation of each and every prisoner had to be finished within a month before appearing in court but there were people who resisted and didn’t give up the information and therefore got tortured to do so.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

It was very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Here feels cold though we have something on. Sometimes, we would have bleeding or feel sick. We would throw up or relieve ourselves into the dish we used to eat food from.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

There were 31 of us in this cell. We used to sleep packed tightly together and if one person wanted to turn those beside him would wake up. That’s about those who could sleep. The fact was that many couldn’t sleep here at all.

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

I can remember that they took me to the row of the torture chamber at 4 am and it became my turn at 7 or 8 am.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

Apollo was a device like this chair I’m sitting on.

Reconstructing image :

Say who your accomplices are!

Say who your accomplices are!

I don’t know.

Javad Karimzadegan political prisoner:

They tied my feet with bolts and nuts and still there is a mark of a bolt which went through my foot.

TIME CODE : 10:00 _15:00

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

There was a brass helmet which we had to put on. It would cover us down to here.

For example, beating on the helmet. After we put on the helmet, he would start beating on it.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

Your body would tremble. When you screamed your voice would echo within the helmet making your body tremble.

I was hit in the eye with the cable and after so many years I still receive treatment in Noor Hospital.

Archival footage Shahs interview with CBSs Wallas:

Wallas: you are saying you do what every country does ?

Shah: sure, why not?

Wallas: if torture is necessary , you torture

Shah: not the torture in the old sense of torture , people twisting there arm or doing this or that, but the intelligent ways of questioning now

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

Every single stroke had a direct impact on the nerves.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

A beast like Husseini tortured me for about 100 times.

They poured water on me. As I felt a bit better they would resume torturing me.

They asked me about my friends’ addresses.

Reconstructing image :

Confess

Give him a false address.

Bouzajmehri Street

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

My friends were so strong that they manipulated the interrogators. Thank God, we didn’t reveal any information even here.

Kazem Ala political prisoner:

well it was funny that every of this SAVAK torturers would come to have fun. thay were enjoying it to get punched or get lumb somebody's ear , and do all, they were just say this, they loved it .

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

You would scream with your hand tied. They would push a needle into your fingernail.

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

As for torturing the prisoners, there was no difference between men and women.

Bahamn Naderipour (Tehrani ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator :

When they used shock devices …

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

They stuck electrical wires of strong currents to sensitive parts of the body.

Bahamn Naderipour (Tehrani ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator :

... attached to parts like the breast.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

They attached them tothe breast, ear lobe and other sensitive parts of the body.

Feridoun Tavangari (Arash ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator:

It had a clip to be attached to different part of the body and when you switched it on, it would make the whole body tremble.

Archival footage Shahs interview with CBSs Wallas:

Wallas: Well they talked about psychological and physical torture.

Shah: physical I don't believe .

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

There was a torturer called Rasouli sitting beside me. He smoked cigarettes and put it out with my body.

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

The cables hurt so badly that I didn’t feel the pain of getting burnt. As I came back to the cell I noticed that my limbs had been burnt but I hadn’t realized that because of the pain of the cables they hit us with.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

They pulled my tooth witha pair of pliers. My eyes were open. I saw it.

Reconstructing image :

You can get a pair of plier and fiddle with it this way.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

They put nervous stress on me with stun guns.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

The devices were not to kill because the electrical current didn’t pass through the heart.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

They burnt my body. I cannot tell you what they did to me right now as if they are torturing me right now.

Reconstructing image :

Say!

Say!

I take confession from you.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

When he did so I felt being burnt to the marrow.

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

When a prisoner moved his limbs, Hosseini hit him with whips and cables prepared beforehand.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

Especially some nights they hit the prisoners so much that they stopped shouting and screaming.

Reconstructing image :

They grabbed hold of the cable like this and hit like this. He hit like this.

When he started hitting he was not alone there. Besides him, there were an interrogator, an assistant interrogator, and police guards which you cannot remember them. They also hit.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

You cannot imagine what they did to us during the seven years from 1972 to 1979 in this pool.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

My statue has been built in that pool. They hit me and hit me and hit me and then decided to throw me in the pool to do away with me.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

They dragged the prisoners to this place either from their cells or the torture chamber, mostly from the torture chamber, because they were hit with cables. The prisoners had got used to the cables and needles so they were taken here to feel suffocated.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

They put the prisoners’ heads under the water and pulled them out just before being suffocated.

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

I had no personal grudge against Sabeti. I didn’t know him at all. When they tortured and kill prisoners and the people in the streets. He hit and hit and hit Nonkelly till he died under torture.

Parviz Sabeti / Fmr security officer and SAVAK deputy :

The issue of torturing is a long story to tell. I personally disagreed with torture, which is illegal and as far as I could I tried to prevent it. I had studied law and I neither saw any torture nor did Interrogate anyone. I just saw about ten people who wanted to give television interviews and it was very rare.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

I was a young person when arrested then. It is like to deny the night when the day is barely obvious. because we had seen many young people taken to the Joint Committee didn’t came back or if did they got seriously injured.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

I can remember martyr Rajaee. I had seen him in prison. Many part of his body had additional flesh including his feet.

Javad Karimzadegan political prisoner:

I forgot to say that in Ghezal-Ghaleh Prison in 1968my feet had been torn apart as a result of torture. He had put an ampoule inside my feet before stitching up the cut. For ten years the ampoule was in my foot. The photo showed a small thing in the sole of my foot. The Dr. said, “Do you want me to cut the sole of your feet to see what the thing is?” I accepted. Anaesthetizing me, the Dr. He cut the sole of my feet. It was then that I found out that it was an ampoule. He had put it in my feet before sewing the cut. It was there for ten years.

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

Kamali was my interrogator. I don’t know what he asked me and what I answered. He called Manouchehri Azghandi and some other interrogators. They came in and beat, kicked and punched me a lot. They took a photo of me then and I wish I had the photo now.As my last will and testament, I wanted the photo to be put in my shroud.

farajollah seifi Kamangar ( Kamali ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator:

I’m not going to deny torturing the prisoners. I swear to my honor that I was not allowed to beat the prisoners at all.

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

I even remember his voice saying, “These villains must be whipped.” He used to speak like this. He used to interrogate us. He was sort of secondary interrogator.

Feridoun Tavangari (Arash ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator:

After being beaten, the prisoner was forced to run with his feet puffed up.

TIME CODE : 20:00 _25:00

Feridoun Tavangari (Arash ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator:

This caused him more pain. His feet might ruptured due to whipping and be bleeding. Then they would be whipped again with their feet dressed.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

Most of them also fell victim except the big shots who could flee the country. Many of them were victims. We acknowledge it.

Feridoun Tavangari (Arash ) Fmr SAVAK Interogator:

What I’m going to say is that when you work there you have no feelings at all.

Morteza Labbafinejad political prisoner:

It was two and a half years ago that with religious ideology and due to the social disorders I saw, and eager to serve the nation …

Parvin Salihi political prisoner:

He suffered many tortures as did I.He himself told me that he would be executed by a firing squad in ten days. He said that the Shah had to issue the order to execute him. 10 days later I held a funeral ceremony having no doubt that he had been executed by SAVAK.

Parviz Sabeti / Fmr security officer and SAVAK deputy :

Generally speaking, we always pursue this policy towards those regretful for their deeds. Generally speaking, the policy our system has adopted intends to guide and forgive rather than to punish. As we find out that someone is sincerely repentant we try to help him out.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

It was he who ordered. How can he deny that they didn’t torture the prisoners in the SAVAK Joint Committee and instead gave them orange juice!?

Seyyed Mohammad Milani political prisoner:

It’s no joke dying under torture. It’s horrific to be beaten to death.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

They poured alcohol on him and burnt all his body’s hairs with a match. He is still alive.

Political prisoner:

on The first night I was arrested, they whipped my tied feet with a cable. When I resisted they burnt me. They took my clothes off and burnt my body between the chest and abdomen.

Seyyed Mahmoud Razvian political prisoner:

The torture was systematic there and the whole royal system with the Shah at the top and supervised by foreign consultants agreed on this issue.

Hasan Sana / Fmr SAVAK deputy :

The mossad Agents would pass comments on almost every issue whether it had t do with intelligence , society or economy.

Nachik Navot/ Head, The Mossad Branch in Tehran :

Because of the storong ties with the regime,which were guided by us, the Mossad Agents.we Worked in full cooperation with the SAVAK, which controlled everything in that country.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

I was interrogated by the Israeli Embassy and the Mossad. The documents are available here.

Parviz Sabeti / Fmr security officer and SAVAK deputy :

We were in touch with the Mossad and the CIA at the time. We had a professional relationship with each other exchanging information. We cooperated with each other.

Mehdi Malekolkotab political prisoner:

If the bricks here – we believe that in the Day of Judgment the whole world will speak – If the bricks here begin to talk, today’s human rights watch feel ashamed of itself. What they did to us during the seven years from 1972 to 1979 in this prison.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

Inside the prison, there are pictures of some famous martyrs like Rajaee, Beheshti, Bahonar, Tondgouyan and many other great men. Please, come inside. Be careful not to trip and see the picture.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

Every day I'm asked how I can stand being here - which once used to be a torture chamber - as a guide of the museum to the young generation.

TIME CODE : 25:00 _27:39

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

At first, it was very difficult for me. I had nightmares.

I’ll make you confess. I’ll make you confess.

Ghodratollah Sanjari political prisoner:

I had nightmares but now I regard it as a cultural job and defend our stance telling what here used to be.

Texts on the wall

Anti SAbotage Joint Committe Prison

Specially used for brutal Torture

1972/1979

One 3rd of the Prisoners were Women

Number of Prisoners

8422

70 types of torture documented

number of killed under torture 57

longest jail term 1140 days

since 2000 this prison has changed into a museum

The End

   

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