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The Abu Ghraib prison that I know

As I passed through the gates of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, I could not believe that this was really me, standing at the edge of where the world finishes.

Abu Ghraib prison, a name that sent shivers down the back of any Iraqi, was in front of me and I, with over twenty one years history of serving the Mojahedin organization, had to start a new existence in this prison and wait for the leadership of the organization, especially Maryam, the sensual wife of Massoud Rajavi, to decide in what way they will eliminate me.

Looking back I clearly remember that even while I was entering the prison I had not understood or recognized the true nature of this barbaric couple. I did not know exactly how they had been surviving on the consumption of the blood of the children of my country.

It is reminiscent of the ancient story of Zahak whose shoulders were kissed by the devil whereupon two voracious snakes grew, one on each shoulder. Then the devil, posing as a doctor, came to his bedside and told him ‘if you feed these snakes a human brain each every day for some time, they will die’. So year in, year out without end, Zahak killed the children of the people of Iran and fed the brains to the snakes on his shoulders. And now this same story is being repeated by Rajavi and his wife who, for getting a grip on power – and what a dirty way of achieving power – are killing the best children of this country. They are selling them in bunches to the likes of Aghid Hashem and Naghib Mohammed [two agents of Saddam’s Secret Services]. I clearly remember my last day in Ashraf camp when they were going to hand me over to the Security Services of Saddam. On that day, a well known dirty and corrupted woman called Mahvash Sepehri together with Batool Rajaie and Javad Khorasan from the so called officials of the organization, along with some of the well known torturers of the organization including Farhad Olfat, came to me and asked me to put my head down and by accepting the rank of deputy of section, go back to my work. After a year of imprisonment and torture in solitary confinement I had only one answer and that was to spit on the floor at their feet.

After a few days in Abu Ghraib prison, I discovered what ‘Falgheh’ meant. But I had no idea that I would become famous in Abu Ghraib together with Abass Yazdani as a ‘loyalist’ of the Falgheh. The Falgheh was a specially made machine for torturing the prisoners. Every Iranian prisoner and in particular every ex member of the Mojahedin had to be tied to this equipment. The so called ‘deposits’ of Rajavi, were informed by our torturers, that we had to feel the machine in such a way that we would understand more deeply Rajavi’s sacrifices, and we would witness with our whole being that our Mojahed leader is paying the highest price by accepting the torture of his ex members.

It did not take long for me to experience this machine. In one of those hot Iraqi afternoons my name was suddenly shouted out by one of the prison guards. I reported to him and without a word he started to beat me with a big wooden club. My head was broken and blood poured from several places on my body. He did not stop and a few moments later two other guards joined him. Nothing was said. Only severe beating. I was loosing my strength very quickly and then I don’t know what happened.

There was some unfamiliar sound and then I was up. At first I thought that I must be dreaming, but the pain was so real that I forgot what I was thinking about. I was covered in blood.

My jaw was dislocated. Lying me on the floor they started again and I could feel their boots kicking every part of my body while I was screaming.

In that situation the one thing I did not know was that I would be spending the next three months living in a toilet.

The guards made me stand on my legs. Only at that time was I informed that I was accused of trying to escape the prison and that there were others who had allegedly been trying to help me and that I would not tell their names! They were beating me up to tell them the names of people who did not exist.

It was clear that the real reason for my torture was that I had been trying to give hope to the other prisoners and had been trying to convince them that one day they would be freed and so we should not give in to the demands of the torturers to go back to Rajavi.

They had found out about this. The laughable accusation of trying to escape was something they would routinely use to cover whatever real purpose they had to beat people up.

Naturally there were people who were unable to put up resistance and under torture would start saying anybody’s name in the vain hope that they would reduce the torture. I would not co-operate in this charade and would not give any names. I could not even bring myself to give the names of the people that I knew had been the cause of my situation.

That was why I had to be tortured to the end. Every torturer and every prisoner knew that these were false allegations but again, everybody knew also that the system of torture and beating had to continue.

My name had come up and in the end they moved me to ‘Mahjaz’. This was a toilet with no water where they would not give you clothes, food or anything else. There was no light in it either. For three months in the worst heat of Iraq I had only 3 glasses of water per day for all my needs. I had no food for the first four days and then I received one piece of bread per day. I had to sleep by the side of the same toilet bowl which had been used over and over and had never been cleaned. The concrete floor was not big enough to stretch out my legs while lying down to sleep.

Living in this condition for three months was barely possible, but every day too after counting the prisoners, the guards would come and in groups of three to five would beat me up and haul me off to the prison yard. There in front of others, they would tie me to the ‘Falgheh’ and beat me on my feet with a very thick wooden club and I would scream and shout. After a while, it became a routine. Every morning I had to run into the yard with a guard beating me on my back. I had to lie down in the middle of the yard so that the chosen prisoners of the day could tie my feet onto the ‘Falgheh’ and keep them up so that the guards could beat my severely injured feet with their special clubs. Seeing me under torture had become a normal thing even for my friends. It was just another routine among hundreds of other scenes in Abu Ghraib. But it was very different for me. For me it was constant torture and constant fear of the next torture session. Many times I could see that while I was under torture the other prisoners were talking to each other and laughing. I could not blame them as I could remember that before me, it had been the turn of Abass Yazdani, and I used to go and watch even though I did not want to. And now it was my turn.

On one of these regular torture days, my foot broke and I passed out. When I came round I saw that they had bandaged my foot. They had not touched my other wounds. But breaking my foot and losing my nails meant the torture was stopped for some time. I spent about three years in Abu Ghraib prison on the direct order of Massoud Rajavi, during which for only three months was I exempted from torture.

All these barbaric activities were taking place because Rajavi had decided that he no longer wants to have any ex members.

Today Rajavi is serving the Americans in rebuilding the Secret Services of Iraq. He is also serving shoulder to shoulder with the new torturers in Abu Ghraib prison. Both Saddam and Bush know that Rajavi, who does not have any mother country, would do any dirty work to please his masters and that is why his sell by date can always be renewed. He resembles an infamous torturer during Iran’s Safavid Empire [1501 – 1722].

This man remained in his position after the attack by Ashraf Afghan and went on to serve in Nader Shah’s court. One day on his way to work he saw the head of Nader Shah on a spike. He approached the people whom he was to kill that day – the ones who killed Nader Shah the night before – and asked them to give him fresh orders for the new victims to be beheaded. He stayed in his job even after the death of Nader Shah.

Similarly, Massoud Rajavi will always have some customers up to the last day of his life. That is, of course, unless someone does not bring him to justice sooner.


Akbar Akbari Sharbaf 

Date: 2004/09/05






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