Head of the Iranian security forces, General Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, speaks to IRIB2 (state TV) about the Kahrizak detention facility. Here’s a photo of this creature in case you haven’t seen one:
A transcript of the interview:
Reporter: “Can you please tell us about the Kahrizak detention facility and what has been done about it?”
Moghadam: “those who were arrested for taking part in the illegal demonstrations of July 9th [18th of Tir, in commemoration of the attacks on the student dormitories in 1999] were held in a number of police headquarters throughout Tehran. The judiciary advised that they be divided into two group. In our initial investigations, those who were accused of more serious crimes were sent to Kahrizak. And the rest were either released or sent to Evin prison.
Unfortunately after they were transferred, for the next four days, from the 19th to the 23rd, the condition in Kahrizak was very dire. I have to add that the Kahrizak detention facility was originally intended for those detainees who were considered very dangerous, who are usually arrested in the Plans for Public Safety [this was an initiative that began two years ago. Parts of it includes harassing young people on the streets especially girls for "threatening public safety by arousing men". Dealing with drug dealers, convicts, murderers, etc also fall into this plan.] And naturally these kinds of detainees are much different in nature than those arrested on the 9th. Maybe this was an ill-advised decision on behalf of those who sent these prisoners there. But anyway, they were sent there for four days and unfortunately that facility was already filled to capacity. The head of the facility did not declare this lack of space to us in written form [huh? does that mean he did declare it some other way?].
So they sent the prisoners to one of the sections in the prison, which, for instance, has enough space for 50 people. And they forced 140 people into that space. So of course the environment was tight and uncomfortable in terms of heat, living conditions, etc. So the conditions were bad. Unfortunately the head of the facility did not report this to higher authorities. To add to that, when some of the prisoners objected to the conditions, two of the guards physically hurt three of these prisoners. Of course, and I’m only saying this so public opinion has more knowledge into the matter, those individuals [notice! He uses plural!] like Mr. Rooholamini who died were not among the three people. These three have been interviewed by our investigative team.
Our initial investigations show that our officers have had shortcomings and have shown inappropriate anger. But while they’re actions were not proper, as soon as the word got out through various channels including to the office of the supreme leader, he ordered the facility to be closed and all the prisoners were transferred to Evin Prison.”
Reporter: “Thank you. I have two or three other questions General Moghadam. People, and those whose rights were violated who may have complaints, what can they do and where can they go?”
Moghadam: “First of all, I want to express my regrets about these events, about the inappropriate behavior of our own officers. Of course, we must primarily be after those who encouraged this fiasco and created these conditions in society. The conditions they brought about can result in the events we’ve seen. It could even affect an innocent pedestrian or ordinary people. Of course, none of this excuses the officers who exaggerated their responsibilities or might have even turned violent.
Anyways, from the very first day [of what?] on the 15th of June [3 days after the election] we announced that people can call 197 if they have suffered any physical or financial losses, or if they have complaints of our officers. From that day, we’ve had more than 500 calls and we have processed over 300 of these complaints. We have compensated the losses as much as we were able so to obtain the people’s general satisfaction. Anyways, if there are any complaints left, they can still let us know by calling 197 [LOL! He's pimping it the way fortune tellers do their 1-900 numbers!] Our officers will call them back and ask them to come to a police center and will God willing investigate their complaints.”
Reporter: “What will happen to those individuals [officers] who have violated the prisoners’ rights?”
Moghamad: “Well, the police force will try and compensate the victims as much as it can for now. But if the victims want to personally go after the accused, they can do so through us or through the courts. But we have personally penalized these officers and where we do not have authority, we will send them to the appropriate courts. For instance, regarding Kahrizak, we were ordered to dismiss the head of the facility which we did. And three of the officers who were in charge of that section and who may have acted inappropriately [I thought they were two] and who did not report back the problems, we have issued a warrant for their arrest and they are currently penalized. The rest will be, God willing, followed up by the judiciary.”
Reporter: “Thank you. But regarding the individuals you said were currently penalized and the trials you are certainly following, when will the people hear back reports of what is happening?”
Moghadam: “Certainly we were waiting for our investigation team to answer back, we did not want to make decisions on our own until the truth came out. Because there were exaggerated version of these stories going around, that, for instance, prisoners were being beaten and abused or that Mr. Rooholamini was murdered. We did not respond until today when the doctors in charge of his body, and forensic experts sat together to discuss the case and explicitly came out and said that his death was certainly not caused by abuse or beating. So you see, we had to wait for their opinion. We have to wait and see what has really happened so that our response to the offense of our officers is balanced and fair.
But for now, what we have done is to dismiss them and hold them in custody. We will complete our investigations through the judiciary and God willing, will report back our findings to the people.”
Reporter: “Specifically, we want to know when this is going to happen. When?”
Moghadam: “We’re doing everything as fast as we can. Our investigative team has finished its work today. When they submit their findings to us, we will respond according to those conclusions. At the same time, we are investigating the stories through other bodies in the judiciary and the interior ministry. ”
Reporter: “Thank you very much General Moghadam and goodbye.”