Our final installment of Cavelo's "Press Release" series. I hope everyone has enjoyed these as much as I have.

Press Release: Savak
by Cavelo

(WB)AM- IRAN-22-JUN-1979

TEHERAN, Iran - Behind the graybrick wall at Gasr Prison a professional interrogator has horrified Iranians with detailed confessions of how he tortured hundreds in the name of ruler and country.

He carried out his job, he said, as an unemotional technician. He found the screams unsettling and used to stuff cloth in his victim's mouth so he could work in silence. "I never experienced any personal hatred toward these people. I was just doing my job."

He was a member of SAVAK, the secret police force set up by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1957 and trained by U.S. and Israeli personnel. SAVAK was a key instrument in the Shah's consolidation of absolute power. It was both an intelligence and police service operating in secrecy and immune from jurisdiction of civil courts. Its members, who were believed to have numbered between 20,000 to 60,000, infiltrated every level of society, from the mosques to the ministries to the university classrooms.

"The prisoners were not always shot", Feridun Tabrizi, 34, testifies. "Often we would torture them with hot iron bars. It was normal duty to beat the prisoners with cables on their bare feet until they could walk no more." During his 3 days of testimony, Tabrizi, his voice sometimes breaking with emotion, told the court that political prisoners were sometimes held over gas burners of stoves. Others were tied to chairs or tables and tortured with electricity. Men and women alike were strung upside down and beaten, burned and scalded. The trial of Tabrizi began last week at Gasr Prison, a fortress like structure, which during the Shah's reign held hundreds of political prisoners. Iranians called it "The House of Remorse."

Tabrizi offered little in the way of a defense at the final session Wednesday night except to say he believed he was torturing communists and subversives, and was doing his duty to protect the Shah and Iran. He said he had repented and asked for forgiveness.


1 Comment

  1. conversation17 - December 10, 2020, 8:45 am

    The Cavelo entries have been terrific. I have not seen them in any concentration in years and I have been thrilled by everything you have been able to share. Cavelo’s style was so unique, so vivid, so unrepentant, so clean, it never failed to thrill. These plates and stories still arouse everything in me. Thank you.

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