Physical and Psychological Torture – Interview With an Iranian Refugee in Germany (ARTE)


Published on German-French TV channel “ARTE” on 4. August 2010
Text source and video (German):

(Photo added by the translator)

29-year-old Ali Kantoori is a supporter of the opposition in Iran. He fled his home country, first to Turkey, then to Germany. Two weeks ago he arrived in the Federal Republic. ARTE Journal has met him for an interview.

ARTE Journal, Géraldine Schwarz: “Were you persecuted in Iran?”

Ali Kantoori, Iranian dissident: “If I were to go into detail about what they have done to me in Iran, the interview would definitely blow the frame of this program. In general, however, I can summarize it by saying that in prison I was subjected to psychological and physical torture, as a result of which I lost 15 kg of weight and developed acute asthma as well as severe psychological disorders.”

ARTE Journal: “How were you treated in prison?”

Kantoori: “Interrogations in Iranian prisons always start with the interrogator saying that you will not experience any problems with him, provided you say and sign what he wants to obtain from you, but if you speak your mind, there will be big problems. Often they confront you with allegations that are simply not true, they are fabricated. If you deny them, they treat you with electric batons and beatings. I had to endure everything, but worst of all were the humiliations I and my family were subjected to.”

ARTE Journal: “How has the human rights situation in Iran developed since the green revolution?”

Kantoori: “As far as the social freedoms are concerned, the situation after the green revolution has deteriorated. There is more repression now, and one of the reasons is that the military and the regime’s security forces are better prepared and better organized than before – be it in terms of their presence in the streets, or in terms of their invading people’s private lives, like telephone tapping. However, this should not lead us to believe that the situation will remain like this forever. Even though the situation of the people in Iran in the past year has not improved, but rather deteriorated, I hope that we as soon as possible will be able to save the Iranian society from this repression, and establish a situation where everyone can live in dignity.”

ARTE Journal: “What are your expectations for the future?”

Kantoori: “It’s impossible to make exact predictions for the future. All we can do is speculate. However, when I look at the Iranian’s desire for change, at the degree of awareness in the young generation, I believe that the future will be better than the situation of today. The problem is, however, that these people lack the tools that would enable them to achieve change. Therefore, nobody hears what they are saying. What the Iranians in the streets are saying is quite different from the statements of the official leaders of the green movement. And very rarely have the media reflected the Iranian’s real demands.”

ARTE Journal: “How many Iranians have fled to Turkey, and what is their situation there?”

Kantoori: “The truth is that the refugees in Turkey are in a dreadful situation, and I think everybody should know this. It makes me sad, and I request from the European governments to do everything in their power to accept these people in their countries and take care of those who have problems. The situation in Turkey is really appalling. They don’t have jobs, they have nothing. These people, who have left everything behind, who have fled their country, are facing serious problems. And there is something else that concerns me greatly: I would like to urge my fellow Iranians to consider an escape as a last resort, and to resist this murderous and criminal regime as long as they can. They really should regard an escape as a last step, just like I did.”

ARTE Journal: “How is life in Germany for you?”

Kantoori: “I can say that I am very glad that Germany accepted me. I would like to thank the German government for providing me with this opportunity to live in a free society, continue my studies and lead a normal life.”

ARTE Journal: “Don’t you fear that the Iranian intelligence could be after you?”

Kantoori: “You can not totally disregard this, since the Iranian intelligence has been observing people in Germany in the past. However, fear does not solve problems, so I am not afraid. But there is a risk, no doubt – after all, the Islamic Republic has even killed people here in Germany. On the other hand, you can’t fall into water without getting wet. It’s the price every political activist has to pay.”

English translation provided by @germantoenglish

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