On October 3, 2022, Tehran resident Meysam Khodarahmi was in his home when he received a call on his cell phone asking him to go downstairs to pick up a package.
When Khodarahmi got out of the apartment building, several security agents approached him and showed a warrant from a distance before searching his home and taking the man into custody.
After being subjected to weeks of psychological and physical abuse by his jailers, the 40-year-old man was handed a long-term prison sentence for being the administrator of an Instagram page with 20,000 followers.
An informed source revealed Khodarahmi’s ordeal to IranWire.
After his arrest, the source said that Khodarahmi was kept blindfolded and handcuffed during his transfer to a detention center called A1, which operates under the supervision of Sarallah Camp of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in eastern Tehran.
The A1 detention center, whose exact location remains undisclosed, has been used by the security institutions of the Islamic Republic in recent years for the interrogation and confinement of protesters. Numerous reports have exposed instances of torture, harassment, intimidation and threats of sexual assault inside the facility.
Khodarahmi spent a total of 20 days there, including approximately 10 in solitary confinement.
The prisoner walked to the interrogation room with the help of two guards, who supported him under his arms, because he suffered acute symptoms, including fever, chills, body pain and a severe infection in his body.
Despite Khodarahmi’s condition, he was subjected to hours of questioning each day. When the inmate entered the interrogation room with a blanket, the interrogator confiscated it and turned on the air conditioner.
In order to coerce Khodarahmi into confessing to acts he did not commit, the interrogator also threatened to terminate his father's retirement benefits or to arrest and physically assault him. Maysam's father is an elderly individual battling cancer.
As a result, Khodarahmi reluctantly agreed to say he had accepted money from foreign entities or from a prince and that he participated in forming a group against national security.
The food provided to the detainees was scarce and of low quality, barely enough to prevent starvation. And despite his health situation, Khodarahmi was denied medication.
Once, a guard told him he should be suspended from the ceiling and have water dripped into his mouth to quench his thirst.
Khodarahmi also suffered a broken hand during his detention.
"He Was on the Brink of Death”
After the interrogation period, Khodarahmi was taken to Branch 3 of Evin prison's Prosecution Office for further questioning and then to Greater Tehran Prison.
He remained ill for weeks after his transfer from the detention center.
"He was on the brink of death,” the source told IranWire. “Whenever he went to the hospital, he received no care and was not even provided with cold pills. Many people suffered from toothaches but were denied painkillers to alleviate their pain."
"Meysam even broke two teeth in prison due to stones found in the food. The bathroom and toilets were filthy, no one cleaned them except the prisoners themselves. Out of the 10 toilets shared by 250 people, some were completely broken and unusable," the source said.
Khodarahmi remained in Greater Tehran Prison until early February, when he was released on bail.
"His case file spans 300 pages and is divided into two volumes, with an additional volume dedicated solely to the videos on his social media page,” another source told IranWire. “All his [Instagram] stories and conversations were printed and included in the file."
Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Khodarahmi to 16 years in prison, a sentence which was upheld by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeal in early March. He will have to serve 10 years of the sentence.
Meysam received a letter on April 24 ordering him to hand himself over to the authorities by May 25. He went to Evin prison two days after the deadline to serve his sentence.