Exclusive: Iranian basiji tells of jail ordeal (contains video)
Channel 4 News

A former member of the Iranian basij militia tells Channel 4 News that he was jailed and mistreated for refusing to assault opposition protesters.

"There was a table. I stood on that table for some hours with my hands tied and a rope around my neck. They came a few times and said they'd come to execute me now, or in an hour."

The words of a former member of Iran's basij militia who refused to participate in the brutal crackdown on opposition supporters after the disputed presidential elections in June 2009.

Before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, the Iranian representative said torture was illegal in Iran.

But Ali, not his real name to protect his identity, has talked to Channel 4 News' international editor Lindsey Hilsum about the harsh treatment he said he endured when he objected to the tactics used against critics of the Iranian regime.

She first heard about him in December 2009 when Channel 4 News broadcast a story about basij leaders who had allegedly ordered the sexual assault of young people who had been involved in protests.

Ali was part of a group of basij who refused to take part. He was jailed and then fled to Britain, where he is applying for asylum.

Ali said: "The people were terrified. Some were already injured, their wounds had not been seen to. This was all very distressing for me because until then I had had very different responsibilities, not the beating up and crimes that they were underta... >>>

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