Iran: Afghan minor languishes in jail despite being innocent; abused and tortured in police station

Amir Nourzehi

An Iranian-born Afghan prisoner, who was detained as a child, was tortured and sentenced to 10 years of prison based on forced confessions.
The prisoner wrote a letter detailing his story. This letter reads in part:
“I am Amir Nourzehi, a 16 year old from Afghanistan. I was arrested on July 28, 2014 and I am detained at the Central Zahedan Prison.
I lived with my father, mother and little brother. I am their breadwinner and worked as a cobbler to make money.
One day, while me and my friend (cousin), Aref Baluch, 22, were sitting, agents came and hand cuffed us and took us to the police station run by Colonel Mullashahi.
They stripped us there and tied us. They tied our hands from behind and hanged us from the ceiling with a chain.
They then started flogging us and told us to accept that we had robbed a bank.
We refused until they brought Aref Baluch’s wife and 3-month old baby in front of Aref and started disrespecting her and using vulgar language; and they said that if you do not accept, we will do other things as well…
We were taken to the judicial interrogator of the Sixth Branch, Shah Mohammadi, and denied the charges insisting that we were innocent but unfortunately, they recorded just the opposite. We were taken to the judicial interrogator eight times. During these eight times, we said we were innocent every time. They transferred us to the Central Zahedan Prison.
In our dossier, they recorded our ages more than it actually was so we were not transferred to the Center which was the Children’s Section. We were handed over to the Teenager Section.
After a month, we were once again taken to the police station, where we were tortured while new charges were brought against us. They brought one kilo of narcotics and said that they found it in our house and that we had to accept this. They brought a gun and said that we had to say it was ours. We had lost our tolerance under all the torture and were children and did not know any better so we were forced to accept the charges. Of course, my cousin, because he confessed sooner than I did, became the prime suspect and I became the second suspect. All the tortures and interrogations were carried out while we were blindfolded.
Since me and my cousin were Afghans and did not have anybody, we were sentenced to 12 years of prison on charges of a bank robbery by Branch 104 of the Nouri Court. For drug related charges, I was sentenced to 10 years of prison while my cousin was sentenced to death for by the 1st Branch of the Sistan and Baluchistan Penal Court. We cannot afford an attorney and have no one to pursue our case. I am completely confused and in state of distress in prison.
Amir Nourzehi – Zahedan Prison.”

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