'White physiological torture' left victim 'never free' even after being released
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A type of sensory deprivation torture used within an Iranian prison has affected a former prisoner so much that they have lasting affects even after being released.
The torture method, which involves placing a prisoner in all white environment, is thought to weaken a prisoner and has been classed as one of the most cruel methods of torture used in history.
Amir Abbas Fakhravar was the first known person who has been subjected to this type of environment in January 2004 when he was moved from a Qasr prison to a detention centre called 125.
He was initially detained due to his alleged links with a political organisation called Jonbesh-e Azadi-ye Iraniyan, which opposes the Iranian government.
Whilst in the detention centre, Amir said he was subjected to ‘white torture’ which includes being in an all white cell, wearing all white clothes, eating white food off white plates and zero conversation or noise allowed in order to deprive him of his senses.
According to Amnesty International, 'the cells had no windows, and everything was entirely coloured creamy white. The meal was white rice on a white paper plate. If he wanted to use the toilet, he had to put a white slip of paper under the door of the cell to alert guards who reportedly had footwear designed to muffle any sound. Fakhravar was forbidden to talk to anyone'.
After being detained in the centre for over a month, Amir was allowed to leave. Just two days later he was taken into custody again, in another method of torture that is designed to leave the prisoner feeling anxious and unstable about their future.
Ebrahim Nabavi, another journalist who was given the treatment within a detention centre gave a harsh description of how it felt. In an interview, he said the worst part of the white torture is never being 'free' even after being released.
In 2004, Amnesty International lobbied the Iran government to release Amir and to abolish the use of ‘white torture’ within prisons and detention centres.
They urged Iranian authorities to end the practice of solitary confinement, in line with the recommendations made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD). They highlighted that an official visit to Iran the year before Amir’s experience in 2004, that officials had noted the ‘white torture’ technique as 'inhumane' and that “such ‘imprisonment within imprisonment’ is arbitrary in nature and must be ended'.
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