Ismael Bakhshi is an Iranian labor leader who was arrested and tortured by security forces in Khouzestan province in December 2018. The below text is the English translation of Bakhshi’s letter to the Minister of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) after his release from prison.
Call to a live TV debate with Iran’s Minister of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), Hujjat al-Islam Mahmoud Alavi.
Mr. Alavi, in the 25 days that I was unjustly detained by the Ministry of Intelligence I was inflicted with hardship and suffering that persists to this day and I have had to resort to psychiatric drugs to subdue them. Yet during this time two critical questions have been relentlessly eating away at my mind to which only you ought to be principally answerable for and it is my right and the right of the honorable people of Iran to know these answers.
First, during the first days of my detainment I was punched, kicked, beaten, and tortured nearly to death without a word of explanation and for no reason at all, leaving me incapacitated to move in my prison cell for 72 hours. My beating was so severe that the agonizing pain made even sleeping an ordeal. Today, about two months after that hard day, I feel pain in my broken ribs, my kidneys, my left ear, and my testicles. Interestingly, the torturers called themselves “Unknown Soldiers of Imam Zaman”, while they swore offensive sexual profanities at Mrs. Ghelyan and me and beat her (translation note: Imam Zaman is believed by Muslims to be the redeemer of Islam and ultimate savior of humankind). But worse than the physical tortures were the psychological ones. I do not know what they did to me that left me as wet as a drowned rat and left my hands still shaking to this day. I, the same person under whose feet the earth would tremble, was humiliated and turned into a different person. I still experience severe nervous and psychological attacks periodically to this day despite the psychiatric medications. Now my question to you as the Minister of Intelligence and as a person who is also a religious cleric is this: from a moral, human rights, and in particular from the point of view of the religion of Islam, what is the decree for the torture of a detainee? Is it allowed? If allowed, by how much?
Second, the matter far more important to me and my family than the physical and mental tortures, is the act of “eavesdropping” on the phone conversations of my family and myself by your intelligence agency. My interrogator said we know everything about you, we even know how many times your wife has had a dispute with you because of your protests. I said how do you know, and he replied we have been “eavesdropping” to your conversations for a while now which made me extremely angry during the interrogations. Now the question my family and I have from you as the Minister of Intelligence, and as a cleric and religious figure is this: is “eavesdropping” on the most private conversations of people from a moral, human rights, and the point of view of the religion of Islam, allowed? What gives your Intelligence agency the right to “eavesdrop” on private conversations between my wife and I???
Therefore, Mr. Alawi, I Ismail Bakhshi, hereby call you to a live TV debate to hear your answers.
Jan 4, 2019