A staggering, impressive and laudatory show of defiance and fierce bravery.
[Saeed] Hajarian is confined to a wheelchair and able to speak only with great difficulty, having suffered severe spinal cord damage after being shot in the face by a fundamentalist who, though later convicted, hardly served any jail time. He survives only with the help of daily medication, intensive physiotherapy and regular consultations with a neurosurgeon. He cuts as unthreatening a figure as any government is likely to encounter. But that hasn’t stopped Iran’s intelligence ministry from locking him up in Evin’s Section 209 – reserved for the most potent political suspects – and subjecting him to regular interrogations.
Hajarian’s captors fear his brain. They are trying to force him to sign a confession owning up to plotting a “colourful” or velvet revolution that would have seen the Islamic republic toppled and replaced by a pro-western puppet government, the political bogeyman that keeps Khamenei and his acolytes awake at night. In return, he would be allowed to leave prison – thereby handing the regime a propaganda coup and sparing it the increasing embarrassment of imprisoning a man whom it is already responsible for reducing to a shell.
But Hajarian – himself one of the principal founders and architects of the intelligence ministry in his younger days – has turned the tables by refusing to leave prison. He has refused to give any admission, even when his jailers tried to break his resolve by interrogating his wife and detaining – though later releasing – his son. Effectively, the prisoner is holding his captors hostage, forcing them to provide, and even administer, the treatment needed to keep him alive. His interrogator has been reduced to carrying out his daily physiotherapy sessions. Source