This short post is not going to touch the unethical methods that this regime is deploying on daily basis. This short post is not going to deplore parading of political prisoners on national TV in mock confessions. This short post is not even going to touch the hilarity of this bogus trial. It is only going to look at the clumsy editing of Mohammad Ali Abtahi’s so called confessions and touch its hilarious last part.
Throughout the interview, there is a sense that he is reading off a piece of paper. He is often looking down at his right hand side. This is visible at 0.14 to 0.17, at 2.03 just before a quick cut, at 3.38 and 3.46. After precisely five minutes, the clip that has up until then been shot by a single camera begins to be edited from multiple cameras and there is no more reading off a piece of paper for poor Mr. Abtahi.
Then we have two cases where the editing is very clumsy indeed.
First case: There is no sound between 1.12 to 1.14 just when he is mentioning someone’s name that the regime obviously doesn’t want mentioned.
Second case: There is a cut at 2.13; one can see his head changes its position. What is cut out is impossible to know.
Another possible cut is off camera. At 3.14 we are seeing a group of photographers and at that time Mr Abtahi starts a new sentence. Listeners can sense that the sound between the two sentences is incoherent. It seems that something that he has said is cut out.
Now let’s move on to the hilarious part. At 5.56 there is a question by presumably the judge obviously intended for the TV viewers as the judge says, and I am paraphrasing here, that anyone listening to what you are saying would think it is because of your time in jail. At this time one knows that Abtahi in his answer is going to say that it has nothing to do with the jail (and he losing about 18k during his time in custody). And right enough, he goes to great lengths to testify that the jail, apart from the fact that it is a jail, has been great and that he had not felt any problem in the jail.
It is one of those truly sad moments when you see this broken man for whom I have always had great respect – liking his sense of humour – is willing to say just about anything after seven weeks of solitary confinement and shedding 18 kilos in jail. Yes, no problem at all in Iranian jails, everything is fine and dandy.
Update: I cannot help but adding this clip made by Ebrahim Nabavi called The Confession [of Mohammad Ali Abtahi]. It is more or less spot on what Abtahi did confess to. However Nabavi made this clip three weeks prior to the actual confessions. Yes, we have seen these kind of confessions before. We are not surprised.