The Memoirs of Mohammad Reza Hafeznia (13)

Hamid Ghazvini


Memoirs of Hafeznia (13)

I was really uniformed. I didn't know what would happen. Finally, they made me to enter the large hall of the prison. They opened a small door and asked me to go in. It looked very dark and tight in the first look. I said, "oh, God where is here? Where is this cellar?" I went forward. The space became bigger. A number of people were there. First, we entered a small room. It seemed that the head of that section of the prison was stationed there. He was a black sergeant major, and very tough and angry.  I came to him. He registered my name, showing me a bed and said, "This is your bed." I looked around myself and saw that the space was very dirty and polluted.  Later, I found out that the prison was the same fifth ward of Vakilabad prison in Mashahd where those who had been sentenced to death and life in prison were kept.  It was a very strange ward. All those who had no hope of this world either the ones who had been sentenced to death or life in prison had been kept in this ward. When you looked at the faces of these prisoners you could find every kind of criminals ranging from the Soviet Union spy to smuggler, murderer, addict and so on. I did not match this complex at all. Their faces were horrible. So, I referred to the head of the ward, and said, "Isn't it possible to change my place? How long should I stay here? He disappointed me with an angry tone.
I said to myself oh God what story this was. Why have they brought me here?  I should not be here. As soon as I reached there, some of the prisoners surrounded me, demanding money. I thought this might be a new phase for annoying me. The first night was a very long one for me. I remembered the solitary confinement and wished to come back there. That night and the next night spent so badly and I was under pressure mentally so much so that for the first time I decided to commit suicide. I had the necessary tool for doing this.
I saw that they sharpened some of the spoons. They used the tools even against each other. But I said to myself,   "We are Muslims and suicide is considered as a sin". I didn't know what to do. I was in my world and very grief-stricken. I neither ate food nor had an appetite to do so and prayed I was sent back again to the same solitary confinement. The environment was so annoying for me that I preferred the solitary confinement. I think one or two days had been passed and I was walking in the prison compound. Suddenly, I saw that some verses from the holy Qur'an and narrations had been written behind a column. Recommendations about patience and resistance were seen there. These phrases were new for me, and in this place?! These men did not understand such things. So, what had happened?  I found out that probably other political prisoners had been or would be brought here and after enduring different kinds of pressures and troubles, they sought refuge to such religious teachings in order to boost their resistance in this environment. I understood that I was not the only one who was under mental pressure. There were other persons with the same situation. Later, I asked Mr. Javad Mansouri about the ward. He said, "I was just kept in the same ward just for one day and transferred to another ward". They kept me in the ward for a few days. I saw that it was not tolerable. The head of the ward was both tough and impolite. I again asked him, "How long should I stay here?" he replied, "It is not clear. You may be here until the end of your life." This was very shocking for me and I was completely disappointed.
He went on, "some stay here for seven months and then are tried in the court until the verdict is issued." I said to myself, "Oh God, I like to be tried as soon as possible in order to rescue this bad place." One week passed and I endured the situation in any way. Then, a young man came to the ward. He was a student from Torbat-e Jam. His name was Majid Rezaiyan.
He had been arrested on charge of distributing communiqués or publicity papers in Mashhad. I got very happy, because I had found someone like myself. I was not alone anymore and started talking to him. I had no news of the outside. He had good information about what had happened in the outside. I thought that this might be the first and last opportunity that I could get enough information. On the other hand it was a good opportunity for me to share what had happened to me from the very beginning privately since I had not told anybody about it so far. Nobody still knew about the original operation. Of course, I had told some cases during the interrogation but I still had other things in my heart. I said this was the best opportunity because I might be executed soon. I saw that he was a good lively boy. Of course he was there for a few days and then released. I told him a lot of issues. He even sympathized with me and invited me to be patient. Anyway, I knew that I was at the end of the way and said these things so that at least someone knew what I did. I gradually got out of the exhaustion in the fifth ward. One day the head of the prison who was a captain came to visit there. I quickly came to him and said, "Sir, I am neither a murderer, nor a smuggler, nor a spy, nor an addict and nor sentenced to life in prison. Please, if possible release me from here. Here is not my place." The captain looked very humble and good-tempered and unlike the head of the ward who was very tough, he got my dossier, looking at it patiently and then said OK, I would review and then left there. The same day, I was called from the office. I was told that they wanted to transfer you to another ward. It was a happy news for me. I prepared to leave the fifth ward. I was taken to the second ward. It was a large ward. As if I had released from the prison. I found out that the prisoners of this ward had political tendencies.  Also, those who had been arrested in Mashhad were brought here. There were also a large number of public and normal prisoners in this ward. The first ward (or the political ward) was for those prisoners who had been tried and were located beside the first ward. I saw what they were doing to some extent. Sometimes, I went to the library. The prisoners of the first ward came also there and I visited them. I was freer here and felt that I had rescued from that bad situation. At the same time, as I was waiting for my situation and future, I was told that someone had come to visit you. 

Translated by: Mohammad Baqer Khoshnevisan



 
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