London, 19 May – Afshin Baymani, the Iranian political prisoner whose deteriorating health we reported on earlier this week, has written an open letter about his suffering at the hands of the mullahs’ regime.
The letter entitled ‘bring my noose’, tells of the torture he has experienced within the prison. The brutal treatment of Mr Baymani by Iranian prison guards and the Iranian justice system over the course of 16 years has led him to wish for his death.
Mr Baymani, who is imprisoned for allegedly helping his brother evade arrest, tells us that he was kept in solitary upon arrival to the prison. He protested his innocence but interrogators said that if he did what he was told he would soon be set free. When he arrived in court, the judge said they would not keep him imprisoned for more than five years.
In the letter, which was smuggled out of jail, Mr Baymani recounts the time he was forced to sign a file that sentenced him to death.
He wrote: “It was exactly 9 am that he gave me a 20-page file and instructed me to read and sign it. I was delighted and started to read. None of the paragraphs related to me. The name of a lawyer was also written in it, but I had never seen him. At the end, it said I had been sentenced to death. I told [the man in charge of judicial matters] that this file has nothing to do with me. He replied: ‘Sign it. I’m in a hurry. Whether it relates to you or not is someone else’s decision.’ Since this was the first time I faced such a situation and I could not comprehend the term ‘execution’, I uncontrollably signed it”.
He was transferred to the Solitary Section of Ward 204 of Evin Prison to be executed. When he heard the news, he was distraught.
He wrote: “For several hours I uncontrollably wept for my wife and my two dear children. I didn’t want to leave them alone”.
For three days, Mr Baymani was kept on edge, waiting to be called for his execution. He studied the Quran, he prayed for his family and he prepared for his death. Then finally, he was called out and an interrogator told him that his sentence had been reduced to life in prison.
A couple of years later, Mr Baymani told a warden that he wished to be executed. The warden said that the regime would treat him so badly that he would wish for death at least 100 times a day.
Mr Baymani wrote: “I didn’t believe him, but now that almost 10 years have gone by from that encounter, I feel that he was telling me the truth”.
At the time, he feared death and just wanted to go home to his family but Mr. Baymani wrote: “After a while I was under so much duress that I wished that they would execute me”.
In the most heartbreaking paragraph, Mr. Baymani pleads for his death sentence.
He wrote: “Now, I am asking all international and Iranian institutions to at least call on the regime to return to me my death sentence and to hang me along with dozens of my cellmates that are hanged every week in this slaughter house of Gohardasht [Prison] so that I can finally be set free from this life which is full of lies, hatred and deception and so that I no longer have to suffer witnessing the execution of my friends”.
In his final paragraph, Mr Baymani repeats that his brother chose the cause of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) to bring an end to the mullahs’ regime, and he was killed fighting for it. He wrote that Arash Sametipour, a former supporter of the PMOI, sold himself out to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in order to by his freedom.
He wrote: “I, Afshin Baymani, who was not a member of the PMOI but never allowed myself for a second to become a hireling of the Intelligence Ministry either, now have to languish in prison”.
Mr Baymani is suffering from untreated heart and lung problems. Doctors have recommended that he be released to hospital but the guards of Gohardasht Prison in Karaj have refused.
He was sentenced to death in 2000 but this was commuted to life in prison in 2006.
To read the full transcript of the letter, go to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) website.