Some might remember that photo of Ahmad Batebi, taken at the Iranian Student Protests of 1999. He is holding a shirt stained with the blood of a fellow protestor who was beaten by the Basij Resistance Force. It made the front cover of The Economist and he was soon after arrested and sentenced to death. His sentence was later reduced to 10 years.
The Economist reported today (requires subscription) that he has escaped to the United States. They spoke with him earlier this week:
Soon afterwards, he was arrested and shown our issue of July 17th 1999. “With this”, he was told, “you have signed your death warrant.”
During his interrogation he was blindfolded and beaten with cables until he passed out. His captors rubbed salt into his wounds to wake him up, so they could torture him more. They held his head in a drain full of sewage until he inhaled it. He recalls yearning for a swift death to end the pain. He was played recordings of what he was told was his mother being tortured.
He suffered a partial stroke that left the right side of his body without feeling. He needed medical attention. The regime did not want to be blamed for him dying behind bars, he says, so he was allowed out for treatment. Three months ago, on the day of the Persian new year, he escaped into Iraq. On June 24th he arrived in America.
…he says he used a cellphone camera to record virtually every step of his journey, and will soon go public with the pictures and his commentary.
His Blog is in what I assume is Farsi. I’ve added it to my blogroll on the right.