“Confessions” then and now

There’s something creepily reminiscent of 1930s Moscow in the recent spate of “confessions” by dissident Iranian journalists.

The Director of the notorious Evin prison has sent a five pages letter to the press, claiming it is written by Mr. Javad Qolam Tamimi, one of the ten journalists arrested few months ago for writing in personal weblogs or internet sites articles deemed critical to the ruling Iranian theocracy and its leaders.

In the letter, Mr. Tamimi accuses his pairs at the Association of Iranian Professional Journalists of being puppets of foreign powers and confesses that against receiving money, he had passed information to the military attaché of a foreign embassy in Tehran.
A former editor at the reformist daily “Mardomsalari” (Democracy), Mr. Tamimi also confesses to “criminal activities” against the security of the Islamic Republic and admits that under “encouragements and persuasions” of some “perverted” elements, he had “deviated” from the path of serving the people and nation.
Three other journalists, Omid Me’marian, Shahram Rafi’zadeh and Roozbeh Mir-Ebrahimi, in letters to Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, an Iraqi dissident appointed as the Head of the Iranian Judiciary by Mr. Khameneh’i made identical confessions and presented similar repentances, saying they had been “brainwashed” by foreigners and “counter-revolutionaries” and demand pardon from the people and the leader.
“Few people can resist the kind of tortures political prisoners suffer in Iranian jails, particularly during the time they are held in solitary confinement, cut from the outside word and told, for instance, that his wife is put in prison with bandits and criminals or his daughter is being raped by smugglers and drug addicts”, a journalist who had experienced prisons in Islamic Republic told Iran Press Service.

I suppose people like Tamimi are more fortunate than confessers like Bukharin, in that they have not yet received a bullet in the back of the neck. But I shudder to think what’s in store for him or anyone else who dares to recant his “confession.”