In the early hours of November 18, 2022, unidentified security forces stormed the home of Hossein Bidaki, a 58-year-old veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, and forcibly took him out of his bed before bringing him to a detention center.
The judge presiding over the Revolutionary Court in the central city of Abadeh accused Bidaki of being behind an assault against a security agent during protests in the city.
The judge told him that the accusation was based on a video of the attack in which his index finger can allegedly be seen.
This report recounts Bidaki's arrest, the abuse inflicted to him while in custody and the legal proceedings that resulted in his conviction in three separate cases.
This Iranian citizen, already deeply affected by the scars of war, was sentenced to a total of seven years in prison, two years of exile and a fine of 20 million tomans ($400).
He is out of prison after posting a 1.15-billion-toman ($23,000) bail.
Early Morning Arrest
On November 17, residents of Abadeh, a small town in Fars province, descended to the streets to mark the anniversary of the 2019 nationwide demonstrations.
Bidaki encountered a neighbor who urged him to "calm down these young men and women and advise them to return to their homes." This man happened to be an intelligence agent.
Bidaki responded by asking the agent to provide him with a word, a slogan or any meaningful message he could relay to the protesters – a message that would address their concerns and the demands of Iranian society.
This response would serve as a pretext for Bidaki's arrest the next morning at 4 o'clock.
The aggressors “blindfolded and handcuffed” this father and grandfather, and “bundled him into a vehicle” without showing any arrest warrant or explanation, the source said.
Due to Bidaki's age and his status as a war veteran, he was not subjected to severe physical abuse but the officers used offensive language against him.
“...Their Bodies Covered in Blood”
After approximately 20 minutes of driving, they arrived at military barracks and Bidaki joined about 40 prisoners at a detention facility. The detainees, who were mostly under-30s, bore signs of “brutal” beatings.
"Some had been transported to the detention center while pellets were still lodged in their bodies, their legs, thighs, and even their heads, their bodies covered in blood," the source said.
"Several of them had run barefoot for so long that fellow prisoners had to remove thorns from their feet…two or three individuals had sustained injuries to their hands and feet due to relentless beatings. One person experienced severe bleeding," the source explained.
Some of them had been struck so forcefully in the head and face with batons that their noses kept bleeding for an entire week.
Despite the extent of their injuries, the detainees continued to be subject to verbal abuse, threats and intimidation.
Investigations by IranWire revealed that all individuals arrested in Abadeh that night were taken to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) camp in Abadeh.
Prison sentences were handed down to nearly all the detainees, who were confined in the Quarantine Ward of Abadeh’s prison.
There, they were denied access to phones, contact with other inmates, and even the ability to purchase items from the prison store.
Bidaki and his fellow detainees were also denied the right to access a lawyer.
Accused of “Attempted Murder with Intent”
The source who spoke to IranWire recounted Bidaki’s two-week detention in Abadeh prison.
"They fabricated a case against him, alleging that he deliberately assaulted someone. He knew nothing about this individual and was not aware of his status as a security officer. They accused him of attempted murder with intent," the source said.
"They argued that in a CCTV video of the rally, Bidaki pointed his index finger at someone and ordered others to attack him, making him the main suspect. However, Bidaki had never seen this person in his life, nor did he have any knowledge of him. How could he have ordered an attack?"
Judicial documents seen by IranWire identified the alleged victim of the November 17 attack as Mohammad Reza Khakzad.
The 101st branch of the Abadeh Criminal Court ordered Bidaki to pay a fine for “ordering” the alleged attack.
He was also sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for "assembly and collusion with the intent of disrupting national security" and "propaganda activities" against the Islamic Republic.
Bidaki was released from custody, but this did not mark the end of his ordeal.
The Second Arrest
In late March 2023, he received a phone call from a neighbor who held a position at the Abadeh Security Police.
The man, named Amiri, requested that he come to the Security Police’s offices, saying he would be released after a simple question-and-answer session.
However, Bidaki was transferred to the prosecutor's office, where a prosecutor by the name of Rahman Naraki abruptly handed down a two-week prison sentence for propaganda.
Authorities cited a post on his Instagram page, in which he expressed his determination to seek justice and support protesters, as evidence against him.
"They deceived him over the phone; it was not a formal summons. Mr. Bidaki, who is a war veteran and spent two months in hospital, was dealing with nervous tension, and his emotions ran high. Despite this, they forcibly placed him in a car and handcuffed him before taking him to prison," the source explained.
During Bidaki's second incarceration at Abadeh’s prison, he was placed in a cell adjacent to drug users who consumed illicit substances in his presence.
"We Are Standing Untill the End"
Bidaki was subsequently sentenced to one year in prison and two years in exile to the city of Rabat Pusht Badam in Tabas for disseminating propaganda against the Islamic Republic through social media.
The IranWire source revealed that Bidaki's Instagram stories primarily consisted of personal content featuring snapshots of himself and his grandson, accompanied by captions such as "You're frightening us by beheading us" or "we are standing untill the end."
Bidaki was released on the previously posted bail but the source said that he is now in a “precarious financial situation.”
"At this age, missing a day of work means not being able to put food on the table," the source said.
"Moreover, he has experienced personal tragedy, having lost his 19-year-old daughter in an accident. This tragedy has given him a deep understanding of the pain endured by the families who have lost their children in protests. Hossein Bidaki is the embodiment of a veteran whose heart aches for his nation and its people."