Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
Behnam Ganji Khaibari
Confirming news of Behnam Ganji Khaibari's suicide, a friend
of his spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the
22-year-old student who was arrested on 31 July, along with human rights
activist Kouhyar Goudarzi, and was later released on 8 August. He told the
Campaign that "Behnam Ganji did not have any political or student activities in
his the past and was merely arrested for his friendship with Kouhyar Goudarzi."
Campaign: You spoke with Mr. Ganji after his
release. What did he share with you about his detention period?
Kouhyar Goudrarzi, Behnam, and another one of their friends
were arrested illegally at Behnam's house on 31 July. Behnam had gone to buy
bread and just as he entered the home, plainclothes forces who were hiding
ambushed him and entered the house behind him by force. During the illegal and
forceful entry into the home, they treated Behnam very forcefully. They were
arrested by those plainclothes forces and were transferred to solitary cells
inside Ward 240 of Evin Prison. Behnam himself told me these details after his
Behnam did not have any political or student activities in his
past, but he was interrogated every morning and afternoon inside Ward 240 of
Evin Prison. And he was under increasing pressure from security forces and
interrogators [who pushed him] for confessions against himself and Kouhyar
Goudarzi. The interrogators questioned him about his personal affairs and his
private life and tried to put him under pressure to confess against Kouhyar, but
they did not succeed.
Campaign: How did his time in prison affect him?
Given that he was not politically active, he was not mentally
prepared for arrest and solitary confinement, stressful interrogations with
blindfolds and under psychological pressure, and white torture. These events had
a huge impact on him and caused severe depression and isolation for him during
the days after he was released from prison. After his release from Wards 240 and
209, he was so frightened, he even feared his own shadow and never went anywhere
Campaign: Was he abused during his detention? What
was the reason for his arrest? Or what did he think it was?
Behnam did not tell me anything about his physical torture or
being beaten during his interrogations. However, the white torture and
psychological pressure and detention in a small solitary cell can be a lot more
psychologically destructive than physical torture. Without a doubt, government
authorities are responsible for his death, because by illegally detaining him
they caused his severe depression. The reason for Behnam's arrest was merely his
friendship with Kouhyar Goudarzi. He was informed of his charge as "acting
against national security through contact with Kouhyar Goudarzi" at the Second
Branch of Evin Prison Court.
Campaign: Did you know him before his arrest? Was he
depressed? Does his family know what pills he took and at what time and how?
Were they able to get him to a hospital? Or did they see him once he had already
I have known Behnam for years. He was a jovial fellow with a
great sense of humor. He did not have any kind of depression or mental disorder
prior to his arrest and it is not clear what they did to him in solitary cells
and interrogation rooms to cause him such depression. His depression after his
release was so bad that when he went to see a psychiatrist with his family the
psychiatrist authorized him to go under treatment inside a clinic. I don't know
what kind of pills he used. His family got home at around 3:00 a.m. on Friday
morning and found him dead and were unable to do anything for him. The last
contact the family had with him was at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday night. He
attempted suicide at about 12:00 midnight. After police forces appeared at the
scene, they disrespected the family and the corpse, and did not even help to
transfer the body downstairs from the fourth floor. His father and brother had
to carry the body down four flights of stairs in their residential complex.
Campaign: What did he say about Kouhyar? Did they
see each other there?
After being transferred to Ward 240, Behnam and Kouhyar were
kept in solitary cells and did not have any information about each other. Behnam
told me that he only heard the sound of Kouhyar's interrogations several times,
when he was discussing the law with his interrogators, calling their actions
against the [Islamic Republic's] Constitution. And once, also, while the two
were transferred to the Evin Prison Court, he saw Kouhyar in the Evin Prison
Campaign: What conditions is the family in right now?
The family is extremely saddened by this event. Behnam was the
youngest child in the family. He was only 22. This tragedy is a big shock to
them. His parents had come to Tehran from Mashad to try to release him from
prison. Behnam was released, but now his parents have to take his body instead
of him to Mashad.
According to JARAS website, Behnam Ganji's body has been
transferred to his home city of Mahsad, and his funeral was held there on
... Payvand News - 09/07/11 ... --