Danial Aghili, 19, was writing graffiti in support of women's protests in Tehran on October 11 when armed forces tackled him to the ground, put a knife in his pocket and took pictures of him with Molotov cocktails that would be used as evidence in his trial.
Aghili was moved to a detention center of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), where six interrogators tortured him for nine straight days to try to force him to confess to being a "riot leader," a source close to the family told IranWire. The young man was blindfolded all the time.
Aghili is among thousands of victims of a brutal crackdown by the Iranian authorities on nearly five months of nationwide protests triggered by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Tehran’s morality police.
Security forces have killed more than 520 people, including dozens of children, and detained over 19,000, activists say. Following unlawful detentions and biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.
“The Interrogator then Pulled the Trigger, but the Gun was Empty”
During the first 48 hours of his detention, Aghili’s jailers beat him constantly and did not give him anything to eat or drink, the source said.
Then he was left in the cold for hours with a bucket of ice on his body
At least six times, the interrogators placed a stun gun to Aghili’s neck until he fainted. They would then pour a bucket of cold water on the detainee and leave him naked in the detention center's yard.
Once, the source said, an interrogator “brought a revolver and put it to his back.” “He told him he was a leader and that they want to kill him. The interrogator asked him to talk about his afterlife before he would be shot."
“He hit [Aghili’s] head with the grip of the gun, and he fell to the ground. They forced him to sit again while his head was bleeding. The interrogator then pulled the trigger, but the gun was empty. For a few minutes, Danial thought he was dead. They moved him back to solitary confinement."
Sentenced to Six Years Imprisonment for Graffiti
Aghili was moved to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison after spending nine days in the IRGC's detention center.
"After he was explained the charges against him, they took him to a room and put a piece of paper in front of him to confess that he is a leader,” according to the source.
"He just wrote that he went out only once to write a slogan and he was arrested. Then the interrogator tore the paper and started writing himself and told Danial to sign.”
"But he didn't do that, saying he could not sign something he doesn't know anything about."
Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Aghili to six years in prison for "gathering and collusion against national security" and "propaganda activity” against the regime.
The defendant was deprived of having a lawyer during the minutes-long court hearing.
Aghili, who appealed the sentence, was released on bail on January 24 to treat his physical wounds.