By Jubin Katiraie
Iranian political prisoner Soheil Arabi was moved back to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary (Fashafuyeh Prison) on Sunday after he spent six days under interrogation at the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)’s detention center.
The authorities tried to threaten Arabi into silence over his treatment in ward 1A of the dentition center, but he refused.
He said: “This is the era of communications. It is not the 1980s when you executed thousands of people and nobody found out. You silence your opponents by suppression and execution, but you cannot eliminate humanity’s desire for freedom.”
Arabi was taken to the IRGC Sarallah detention center because news had leaked to independent media sources about the conditions he was being kept under in prison, notably the denial of medical treatment. The IRGC agents warned that if he didn’t keep quiet, he would be moved to a much worse prison than the Greater Tehran Penitentiary
They said: “Why did you contact and give an interview to opposition media? Why do you talk to aliens [foreigners]? These are tantamount to a crime. We have worse prisons. If you continue to do these things, these are considered activities against the state.”
He replied: “I believe no human being is alien except for those who oppress their fellow human beings and are corrupt and autocratic.”
Arabi continued by explaining that he speaks to foreigners because they believe in human rights and democracy, as opposed to the government who subject him to an inquisition for talking. He further said that it mattered not what someone’s nationality, skin color, religion, or anything else was, so long as they respect humanity.
He said: “You suffocate your opponents by suppression and executions, but you can never eliminate humanity’s desire for freedom. Because everyone would eventually find a way to achieve freedom. And no one has been able to keep a human being in a cage forever. We fly with our beliefs.”
The agents accused him of “cooperating with the enemy”, but he rebuffed this by saying that they were cooperating with the enemy by detaining a journalist who defends human rights and spoke up for oppressed people.
Arabi said: “If you want me to refrain from talking to the media, you should release the political prisoners. In contrast, [because of the coronavirus threat] you have released embezzlers, thieves and drug dealers who jeopardize the society. You have continued to incarcerate the teachers, workers, students, and journalists who serve their people.”
When Arabi was taken to the detention center, his dispatch papers said that he would be there for 21 days, with this possibly extended.
He has been on a hunger strike since April 3 after the officials refused to send him to hospital for an urgent operation.