IRAN: Former prisoner says interrogators increasingly indifferent to Ahmadinejad
Out of jail on $800,000 bail for just a few days after weeks in Tehran's Evin Prison, former Iranian Vice President Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told an Iranian news website that some of his interrogators were unenthusiastic about their jobs and had little love lost for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The story, originally published by the reformist website Salaam News on Thursday, appears to have been removed, and Ramezanzadeh denied giving any interviews, though numerous other websites picked up the comments.
"Four times the team of interrogators changed," he reportedly said.
"At the beginning the interrogators were strongly defending President Ahmadinejad. The interrogators insisted that President Ahmadinejad was representing the poor and barefoot," he said.
Later, the tone changed, he said.
"Recently, in the interrogations, they did not care about Ahmadinejad," he said.
Such interrogations are often carried out by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, though recently the intelligence division of Iran's Revolutionary Guard appears to have gained the upper hand.
Ahmadinejad reportedly ordered a purge of the professional ranks of the intelligence ministry.
Ramezanzadeh, who has now been in prison for nearly four months, served as the official government spokesman during the 1997-2005 presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami.
He was arrested shortly after Iran's disputed June 12 elections and tossed into solitary confinement. After 80 days in detention, he appeared on television in one of the series of mass court sessions last summer criticized as "show trials" by critics.
During the sidelines of that court session, he described his arrest and subsequent treatment.
Unlike other reformists, however, Ramezanzadeh has apparently refused so far to issue a public confession about his alleged misdeeds, which may be why he was sentenced this week to six years in prison on charges that include "acts against national security, propaganda against the Islamic state and holding classified documents," according to news reports.
Not only did his treatment at the hands of interrogators improve over time, so to did the food in prison, he said. "The worst days were that time when we were taken two times to the trials," he said.
Though he has now been formally charged and convicted, he says he's still not sure what he's done.
"They could not find even one evidence to prove that I had said anything against the system or the supreme leader," Ali Khamenei, he said.
The interrogators referred to one speech he had made before an audience of seminary researchers and scholars in which he described the battle between Imam Ali, a Shiite Muslim saint, and the Sunni Caliph Osman.
"Interrogators accused me of drawing parallels between Ahmadinejad and Osman," he said.
Photo: Abdollah Ramezanzadeh during a break from prison. Credit: Salaamnews.com