By Mojtaba Akhgar
The executions of the summer 1988 massacre of political prisoners had been suddenly stopped, and we inside the prisons didn’t know why. Was it because of a wave of global condemnations, protests from inside the regime’s own ranks or … whatever it was, the regime’s execution machine was not working. They transferred all of us who were in solitary confinement to the general ward in hall 12 of Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, located west of the Iranian capital of Tehran. We numbered less than 170. Two or three days later the ward gates were opened and Davoud Lashgari, then warden of Gohardasht Prison, entered the ward and read out a list of names. With me we were 12 or 13 in total. We were ordered to pack up all our belongings and gather outside the warden. We were then blindfolded, taken to another section of the prison. Inside a room we were lined up around a bed.
Nosseriyan (Sheikh Mohammad Moghise), a senior official in Gohardasht Prison and one of the main elements behind the 1988 massacre in Gohardasht, began reading a text saying based on court orders all of you have lied in your court hearings and must receive 80 to 250 lashes…
Javad Taghavi was the first name read out and he was sentenced to 100 lashes. He was laid down right there and his arms and legs were strapped. Nosseriyan himself began lashing, and 20 or 30 lashes later a prison guard brought a message for him and asked him to accompany him to another location. Nosseriyan gave the cable to a prison guard by the name of Hamid Abbasi and temporarily left that room. A short while later Nosseriyan returned and became angry seeing how Abbasi was lashing, saying it was too weak. He then grabbed the cable and began hitting the prison.
However, Javad resisted the pain as the hero he was, not even saying a word. The prison guards were always waiting for him to start complaining about the pain. His resistance reminded me of that of Jesus Christ, especially after his crucifixion.
After the lashing came to an end, the rest of us had become much more determined to continue in line after the resistance he showed. Javad was executed soon afterwards, sacrificing his all in defense of the freedom of his people…
Now, many years later, me and many others are struggling for the freedom of the Iranian nation. We all have our crosses on our shoulders every day, placing our efforts to establish a country of Iran without any lashing, torture and execution.