Tortured labor activist Esmail Bakhshi calls on the intelligence minister for a debate

Labor activist Esmail Bakhshi, revealed in a letter posted on Instagram on January 4, 2019, that he was severely beaten during his 25 days in a detention facility operated by President Rouhani’s Intelligence Ministry.

He was left with serious and lasting physical injuries, according to his open letter.

Esmail Bakhshi, a representative of protesting Haft Tappeh sugarcane workers in Shush, southwest Iran, said: “During the first few days, without reason or any conversation, they tortured me and beat me with their fists and kicked me until I was going to die.

They beat me so much I couldn’t move in my cell for 72 hours. I was feeling so much pain that I couldn’t even sleep without suffering.”

“Today almost two months after those difficult days I still feel pain in my broken ribs, kidneys, left ear and testicles,” he added.

“But worse than the physical torture was the psychological torture. I don’t know what they did to me but I turned into a washed-up rat.

My hands are still trembling. I used to walk with my feet firmly on the ground but I was humiliated into a different person. I still get severe panic attacks despite taking anxiety medication.”

Calling on Intelligence Minister and mid-ranking cleric Mahmoud Alavi for a debate concerning the maltreatment of detainees, the activist also said that he, along with journalist Sepideh Qolian, who was arrested at the same time, were bombarded with abusive sexual language.

Writing on his Instagram page, Bakhshi said, “The torturers, who presented themselves as the unknown soldiers of [the Shi’ite] Hidden Imam, used to shower us with vituperative sexual terms while beating us up.”

Bakhshi asked of Alavi: “As a cleric, and from the moral and human rights point of view, tell us what is the sentence for those who torture prisoners? Is torturing prisoners permissible? If it is, to what extent? Has the ministry run by you the right to secretly monitor private telephone conversations?”

Esmail Bakhshi also accused the government of tapping his phone before his arrest and listening in on his private conversations.

“The second issue that is far more important to me and my family than the physical and mental tortures is that your intelligence apparatus listened in on me and my family’s telephone conversations. My interrogator told me that he knew everything about me including arguments with my wife over my labor rights activities. I asked them how they knew and they said that my phone was tapped from long before which severely angered me in the interrogations,” the labor activist wrote.

“Is listening in on the people’s most private conversations morally, humanely and Islamically permissible? With what right did your intelligence apparatus listen to the most private telephone conversations of me and my dear wife?” he demanded addressing the Minister of Intelligence.

Esmail Bakhshi challenged Alavi to a live television debate on the conditions at prisons and detention centers across Iran. Alavi has not yet responded.

Bakhshi, spokesman for the labor union of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane industrial complex, was arrested on November 20, 2018, during ongoing demonstrations by workers demanding unpaid wages. He was released on December 12 on bail.

There were previous reports that Esmail Bakhshi was tortured in prison and transferred to hospital, though the reports were denied by officials of the southern province of Khuzestan, where Bakhshi resides.

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. ♦️دعوت از حجت الاسلام علوی وزیر اطلاعات جمهوری اسلامی به مناظره در یک برنامه زنده تلویزیونی جناب آقای علوی در 25 روزی که ناعادلانه در بازداشت وزارت اطلاعات بودم مصائب و رنج هایی بر من تحمیل شد که هنوز از شرّ آنها خلاص نشدم و برای رهایی از آن ها به داروهای اعصاب و روان پناه آورده ام، اما در این مدت دو پرسش اساسی مثل خُره مغز مرا درگیر خود کرده است که پاسخ دهنده ی اصلی آنها فقط شخص شما میباشید و این حق بنده و ملت شریف ایران است که پاسخ این پرسش ها را بدانیم. اول اینکه در روزهای اول بدون دلیل یا هیچ حرفی تا سر حد مرگ مرا شکنجه و زیر مشت و لگد گرفتند که تا 72 ساعت در سلولم از جایم نمی‌توانستم تکان بخورم و آنقدر زده بودند که حتی از تاب درد خوابیدن هم برایم زجر آور بود و امروز پس از گذشت تقریبا دوماه از آن روز سخت در دنده های شکسته ام، کلیه ها، گوش چپم و بیضه هایم احساس درد میکنم جالب اینکه شکنجه گران خود را سرباز گمنام امام زمان می‌نامیدند اما به بنده و خانم قلیان انواع اقسام فحش های رکیک جنسی میدادند و ایشان راهم کتک می‌زدند اما از شکنجه ی جسمی بدتر، شکنجه های روانی بود، نمی‌دانم چه بر سرم آوردند که مثل موش آب کشیده شده بودم و هنوز دستهایم میلرزد، منی که زمین زیر پایم میلرزید تحقیر شدم و به شخصیت دیگری بدل شده بودم و هنوز با وجود قرص های اعصاب و روان گاهی دچار حمله های شدید عصبی روحی و روانی می شوم، اکنون از جنابعالی بعنوان وزیر اطلاعات و کسی که خودش یک روحانی مذهبی ست این پرسش را دارم : از نظر اخلاقی، حقوق بشری و بخصوص دین اسلام حکم شکنجه ی یک بازداشتی چیست؟ آیا رواست؟ اگر رواست به چه میزان؟ مسئله دوم که برای من و خانواده ام بسیار بسیار مهمتر از شکنجه های جسمی و روحی ست بحث «شنودِ» مکالمات تلفنی بنده و خانواده ام توسط دستگاه اطلاعاتی شماست، بازجویم میگفت ما از همه چیز تو خبر داریم حتی می‌دانیم همسرت چند بار بخاطر مبارزاتت با تو دعوا کرده است گفتم از کجا میدانید گفت مدت ها تماس های تو «شنود» می شد که باعث عصبانیت شدید من حین بازجویی شد حال پرسش بنده و خانواده ام از شما بعنوان وزیر اطلاعات و یک شخصیت روحانی و مذهبی این است که : آیا «شنود» خصوصی ترین مکالمات انسانها از نظر اخلاقی، حقوق بشری و دین اسلام رواست؟ به چه حقی مکالمات تلفنی خصوصی بنده و همسر عزیزم را دستگاه اطلاعاتی شما باید «شنود» کند؟؟؟ لذا جناب آقای علوی اینجانب اسماعیل بخشی برای شنیدن پاسخ هایتان شما را به یک مناظره در یک برنامه زنده تلویزیونی دعوت میکنم اسماعیل بخشی 14 دی 97

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Iranian officials have denied the use of torture against Esamil Bakhshi and other labor activists.

The Revolutionary Guards affiliated Fars News Agency wrote today that a judicial official had talked to Mr. Bakhshi days after his release and that the labor activist had denied the “rumors” on social media that he was tortured.

In an interview with the ILNA state-run news agency today, an Iranian parliamentarian and member of the parliament’s Judicial Commission said that Bakhshi’s claims had to be “proven” adding that “torture is banned in our constitution”.

“The claim is an accusation against the country’s authorities and has to definitely be seen to,” Mohammad Kazemi added in comments that seemed more like a threat.

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