13 September 2009

Raped and beaten

for daring to question President Ahmadinejad’s election

From Times online, September 11

Times online has published several accounts of rape and torture in Iran prisons since the election protests and the following arrests began in mid June.

In this editorial Martin Fletcher and a special correspondent in Tehran tells the story of Ardeshir (not his real name), a young engineering student, who […] “was locked up, beaten and raped multiple times for daring to protest against President Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.”

A psychologist said that the young man “has extreme feelings of self-hatred resulting from a sense that he will never be clean again, and from shame over the repeated rapes.”

“A hospital report confirms he suffered anal damage.” […]

Ardeshir “was no political activist but took to the streets on June 20 to protest at the election. He and his friends were attacked by Basij, the Islamic volunteer militia, and separated.

As the violence increased [he] headed to a metro station but was seized by plain-clothed police and thrown into a windowless van containing 14 other bruised and bloodied demonstrators.
They were driven to an apartment building 90 minutes away that was clearly an unofficial detention centre. Ardeshir believes that 60 to 70 detainees were held there.

The new arrivals were ordered to strip to their underwear and stand in lines. Two Basiji “rubbed our genital areas with their batons, calling us ‘scum’ and saying ‘Ah, yes, the balls of the foot soldiers of the heretic Mousavi’,” Ardeshir recalled. “They then promised that we would confess to trying to overthrow the divine regime.”

The next day two Basiji took a 17-year-old schoolboy from the cell that Ardeshir was in. “Ten minutes later we heard him screaming and crying. It then went suddenly silent,” Ardeshir said.

“A couple of minutes later two Basiji grabbed me ... I felt faint and wanted to cry when faced with a scene I had never before in my life imagined ... The boy, completely naked, was seemingly unconscious on the mat, his face in a pile of vomit and with blood around his rectum.

“A Basiji called Mahmoud said, ‘Take a good look. That will happen to you if you resist, you faggot lover of Mousavi’.

“The Basiji then said: ‘Now you.’ “They threw me on my back on the ground. Mahmoud then urinated on my face, saying that this would teach me not to oppose the divine wishes of the Great Leader of the Revolution. ‘We have been sent to re-educate you, you spoilt Western piece of shit,’ he said.

“They took off my underwear and made me go around on all fours. Then Mahmoud said it was time for my punishment. I was still on all fours when he began to rape me. As he penetrated me I cried out and felt as if I would throw up. He told me that if I didn’t stop screaming he would stick his baton up me.

“When he was done, another Basiji came up and raped me. At this point I felt that I was not me. I seemed to have shut down and separated from my body. All I could think of was when it was going to end, and why these people who claim to be the most religious in our society can do such things?”

Every other day Basiji would choose detainees from the cell to rape. “The third time they dragged me from the cell, I momentarily escaped their grip and ran to a corner. I screamed, ‘You say you are Muslim. How can you rape and humiliate us in this way?’. They laughed and said they had religious sanction from the Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] to do so because we had gone against his word.

“Three guys then dragged me from the corner. I was shoved against the wall, face first. Two guys spread my legs and once again I was raped by them. I just cried and prayed for God to take my life. After the third man finished Mahmoud said, ‘This is for insubordination. I warned you. I then felt a large object shoved up my rectum. I think I lost consciousness because the next thing I knew I was back in the cell. […]

“They also liked to take several of us out at the same time and forced us to ride each other, doggy-style, whilst naked. They laughed and took pictures with their mobile phones. They would watch this for ten minutes and then proceed to rape.” […]

After being beaten and raped again by two Basiji Ardeshir finally signed the “confession” which said that opposition leaders and the foreign media had encouraged him to engage in anti-regime activities, and was released.

“He’s a broken boy,” his father told The Times. “I just pray that we can put him back together, although I know he will never be the same gregarious, optimistic, sensitive boy we brought up. How could this so-called Islamic regime do this?”

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