Blindfolded with his hands in cuffs, Farzad Madadzadeh would be beaten for up to 16 hours a day in an Iranian prison.
He was electrocuted and punched by three guards who threw him around like a ‘football’, before returning him to a tiny solitary
Each night for five years he would fall asleep wondering if death would come for him in the morning, or whether yet another day of torture and questioning was in store.
His only crime? Speaking out against Iran‘s regime.
Shocking: Farzad was first taken to Iran’s most notorious jail, Evin prison, where prisoners have reported frequent use of torture.
‘You are subjected to all kinds of torture – psychological and physical,’ he told MailOnline. ‘Constant interrogation, constant beating around the clock.
‘Any moment you wait for something to happen – a new torture session or a death sentence.
‘You are totally isolated from the rest of the world. The only voice you hear is the voice of death.’
He claims guards would bring drugs including heroin into the prison to encourage addiction, making it easier for interrogators to ‘crack’ prisoners suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
The 30-year-old is speaking out after escaping from the country two months ago and ahead of a gathering in Paris today to protest against the surge in executions in Iran.
Farzad was first taken to Evin Prison – Iran’s most notorious jail.
‘I spent 10 months in ward 209, which is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence,’ he explained. ‘It is the most vicious ward in the whole of Iran.
‘I was immediately blindfolded. The interrogations started – from 8am to 11pm or midnight.
‘If you said things they didn’t like to hear or you did not conform, the beating began. They hit you very hard, as hard as they could.
‘You were transferred to your own solitary confinement at midnight. The next day it continued.’
It was of one Farzad’s interrogators who informed him his sentence was five years. To his knowledge there had been no trial.
He was kept in a 1.5m by 2m solitary confinement cell for six months – but was allowed a visit from his relatives four months into his jail term.
‘When my mother and my father and sister came to visit me they asked me, ‘where is our son?’ They didn’t recognise me because I had been so badly beaten.
‘The worst thing about prison is that they take your best friends and hang them,’ he added. ‘You can’t imagine how it feels to lay down at night and in the morning you wake up and you see your best friend is hanged.’
On the day he was due to be released in February 2014, Farzad’s excited family waited outside the prison for 10 hours in the bitter cold. He said he was kept for two extra days out of spite.
It is believed there are still hundreds of political prisoners being kept in the country’s prisons.
Farzad was not allowed to leave Iran, but fled the country secretly and arrived in Europe in August this year – many of his relatives remain in the country and he is reluctant to discuss them in fear they could face repercussions.
‘Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up in fear of being arrested,’ he said. ‘I know it’s not real but this feeling comes back.
‘In 10 years I only hugged my father and held his hands three times’, she told MailOnline.
‘I know these memories and these feelings won’t go away. That will only go away when the regime is overthrown.’
Farzad said he is speaking to the media so he can be a voice to the voiceless – those who have died and others oppressed by the regime.
Also keen to talk is Paria, who also escaped from Iran and joined Farzad to speak to MailOnline via video conference yesterday.
A female activist born in Tehran, her father is renowned political prisoner, Saleh Kohandel, who was first jailed when she was just four years old.
He is currently serving a 10-year sentence at Gohardasht Prison for opposing the regime and she visited him during his incarceration.
Saleh was first imprisoned for five months and the second time when she was six for a year.
In 2008, Paria’s mother and older sister moved to Ashraf, not long before her uncle and aunt were killed there.
‘From the age of 12 up until now, I visited my father in prison alone,’ Paria said. ‘It was hard for me because nobody was with me.
‘I saw children seeing their fathers and mothers crying because they had only seen them once in five or six years. I was one of them.
‘In 10 years I only hugged my father and held his hands three times.’
Describing the conditions, Paria said: ‘It was crowded. My father wrote in one letter that some nights they slept in the toilet.’
Paria herself was involved in the 2009 uprising at a young age and encouraged her classmates to take part in the demonstrations.
Asked whether she was scared when she escaped from Iran, she said: ‘Yes, but in my mind nothing is scarier than the regime. I saw what happened to my father and other people.’
She fears her father will be executed or die behind bars. (Daily Mail – October 10, 2015)