Qasr Prison, near Tehran, February, 1981.
It is eleven o'clock at night, and Syavosh BASHIRI, a former newspaper publisher during my brother's regime [= His Majesty the King of Kings Light of Aryans Shah-en-Shah Arya Mehr], is asleep in a tiny cell crowded with other prisoners.
Suddenly the door clangs open and an armed guard calls out:
"Your turn has come."
BASHIRI weeps as he is dragged into the courtyard where six other prisoners are already lined up against a stone wall. Some of the men cry and plead for their lives, as the firing squad takes aim. There is a burst of machine gunfire, and six men fall dead. BASHIRI is covered with blood, but he is still alive. The guards take the man, who is trembling and nearly out of his mind with terror, and throw him back into his cell.
The Ayatollah KHALKHALI, the IRP's "hanging judge" has ordered the mock execution in order to break BASHIRI's will. Six months later, after having released his worldly possessions to the judges, BASHIRI is released, thanks to the intervention of a senior member of the prison staff, a man who was repelled by Khomeini's justice.
In the summer of 1981, BASHIRI slipped over the Iranian border into Turkey, and then went on to Paris. There he was interviewed by an English journalist, who told his story:
"BASHIRI paid the mullahs vast sums of hush money. In all he handed over 175,000 pounds in Iranian currency, most of it borrowed from friends. But his generosity only seemed to make them more greedy, and when they had squeezed him dry, the mullahs had him arrested and put into Ghasr.
"In Ghasr the word of Ayatollah KHALHKALI is law ... According to BASHIRI, KHALKHALI's day at Ghasr begins at two in the afternoon. He spends the mornings attending the Majlis, the Iranian parliament, where he is a member ... (after his one hour siesta) he gets down to the serious business of the day — judging the dozens of prisoners who have been rounded up in swoops the night before. There is the usual mixture of thieves, homosexuals, prostitutes and drug addicts to cope with. The political prisoners he saves for later.
"Prisoners are paraded before him in batches of twenty. Passing sentences takes only a few minutes ... There is no appeal. Anyone with the temerity to protest that his sentence is too harsh has it doubled automatically. Once, BASHIRI recalled, KHALKHALI was suddenly summoned to a meeting with Ayatollah KHOMEINI. He had no time to deal with the prisoners, so he decided to sentence the occupants of the first prison bus to three years, the second to five and the third to seven. Many prisoners are in addition ordered to be tied to a concrete bench and lashed with electric cables. The women, their legs covered by jute sacks in the cause of Islamic modesty, are hit with rubber hoses."
"Towards five o'clock, KHALKHALI, a short bearded man, starts his tour of the political prisoners' cells. Snapping his lingers, he moves briskly among them, selecting victims seemingly at random: `You there, you've had it, he says. “Outside”. Not a trace of emotion shows in face.
"The condemned men are embraced by other prisoners and taken away swiftly to write their wills. But if these include substantial bequest of money to their families, they may find that they are temporarily reprieved.
The next day they are taken under guard to their batiks and forced to withdraw all their savings. Only then are they shot, while the money is handed over to KHALKHALI for safekeeping ... KHALKHALI has enriched himself with his victims' money ..."'