Narrative of Mulla Saleh Qari, Translator of Iranian Captives

Real Beginning of Captivity, Saleh’s Torture

Selected by Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


As I found out later, their work routine was such that every forty days, as soon as new captives arrived, a group from the Farsi section of Iraqi Radio and Television came and interviewed them.

It was as if forty days had passed and the six of us, who were new arrivals, had to prepare for the interview. It was the morning of the second day. Worried about what might happen to us, Habib and I were standing next to the small window facing the yard and talking.

Suddenly, the entrance door of the building opened with a noise and two cars entered the courtyard. A few of them got off and went to the main building. We were both curious and sad looking at the car and the passengers who got out of it.

Suddenly, my face got pale and I glued to the spot. I started moaning and hit my head with my hand. I had lost my peace and I was afraid of what I had seen.

I kept saying: Oh my God, my father! One of them, who was holding a tape recorder and a microphone and was going to the entrance of the building, made my heart tremble.

Seeing this sudden change in my mood, Habib asked worriedly: Saleh, what has happened?

I had become nervous and lost my color. I said to my friends: 

My friends, it would be the kiss of death for me! This person I saw, if he sees me, he will expose me, I'm done! I bequeath you, if he sees me and exposes me, whenever the situation arises and the Red Cross officers come to you, tell them that such and such a person was a political prisoner in the Shah's prisons and they killed him. Be sure to tell the Red Cross my name!

Habib said confusedly, "Who is this!" While the fear was overwhelmed by my whole being, in a voice that clearly trembled, I said, “He is my sworn enemy!”

The sound of steps approaching was heard. Habib, who was aware of the deterioration of the situation and saw my situation in danger, said in a ruthless manner: "Come on, Saleh! They are coming; go and hide under the blankets as soon as you can, pretend that you are sleeping. Hurry up! They don't know me, but if they see you, it will become bad for you”.

I quickly went under the blankets and hid. While my heart was pounding and I was pale and my body was sweating and shaking, I whispered this sentence:
"When destiny and what has been determined comes, nothing can stop it."

Main nature of the hypocrite "Fouad Sabil"

The person whom I had lost myself by seeing him was none other than "Fouad Salsbail" who also knew me well. He was from Khorramshahr and participated in the post revolution sedition of the Arab People, which led to the death of many innocent people. He cooperated with the Monafeghin (hypocrites) and counter-revolutionaries and had shot at and killed some people.
When he clashed with the IRGC forces and revolutionaries during an operation, he was shot and wounded, and fled to Iraq and joined the Ba'athists and worked with Iraqi Radio and Television and became a presenter of the Farsi section.
After that, whenever new captives were brought, he would come to the Ministry of Defense (Intelligence) and interview them and recounted what was in the interest of Saddam's regime from the captives' language.
Fouad Salsabil had learned that a group of captives had been brought to the intelligence. He came to interview them. Unfortunately, Fouad knew me and knew that I am the announcer of the Arabic section of Abadan Radio; the same person who read his announcement and encouraged the Iraqi forces to surrender and interviewed the captives.
My heart was beating so hard that my chest was in severe pain. I was suffocating under the blankets, but I had no choice.
The door opened with a dry and loud sound. My heart was pounding and I was pale, and I knew that my friends were no better off than me. I could hear the whispering of their prayers and I had hidden under the blankets.
Curiously, Fouad went toward the pile of the blankets, which he thought had an unnatural bulge, and hit it with his boot. As soon as he kicked, as if his foot hit something hard, he noticed something under the blankets.
He bent down and pushed aside the blankets and noticed that someone was under them surprisingly. I, who had pretended to be sleeping until that moment, felt as if a bucket of water had been poured on me, and my whole body, hair, and face were drenched in sweat.
Suddenly, when Fouad saw me, his eyes widened in surprise and while laughing loudly, he shouted: Come and see who's here! This is Mullah Saleh! This is the same Mulla Saleh who is working in Khomeini’s radio. Come and see!
He was happy and shouting, the sound of running and commotion could be heard in the corridor. The officers poured into the room and I lost myself and I was sitting next to the blankets and looking at them. They suddenly attacked me and while several people punched and kicked me, they dragged and took me to the interrogation room.
While beating me, the interrogators asked my name and I screamed and said in pain: I am Saleh, the sailor, I am a fisherman, I work on a launch.
Fouad Salsabil, who was present in the room and cooperated in the torture, shouted: This cursed person is lying; he is Mulla Saleh!
One of the officers said: You are wrong; he is Saleh Tehara! We arrested him and his companions on the fishing launch.
Fouad said: He works in Khomeini's radio-television and interviews the captives, reads Khomeini's communiques, I know him well.
With the words of the hypocrite Salsabil, it was already clear to the officers that I lied to them and the fisherman Saleh; I am not a fruit and vegetable merchant. I screamed under the blows and my moans shook the building. I was beaten so much that not only did I bleed, but my head and face were injured and bruised. My lips were split, my mouth was full of blood and it was swollen severely. Blood flowed through my hair when they took me unconscious to the room. My body was stretched on the ground.
They opened the door of the room and threw my half-dead body into the room. This time they attacked my friends and took them to the interrogation room with batons and kicks.[1]


[1] Source: Ghobeishi, Marzieh, Mulla Saleh, Narrative of Mulla Saleh Qari, Translator of Iranian captives, Qom, Shahid Kazemi Publications, 1395 (2016), P. 142.

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