Accessibility links

Breaking News

Young Iranian Says He Was Raped In Prison, Pressured To Stay Silent

Reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi has come under fierce pressure for making the allegations of prison rape.
Reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi has come under fierce pressure for making the allegations of prison rape.
A well-known Iranian filmmaker, Reza Allamezadeh, has posted on his website a video of a young Iranian man, Ebrahim Sharifi, who says he was raped in prison in Iran after being arrested in the postelection crackdown.

Sharifi says he was harassed and threatened by officials for talking about his experience and informing reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi about what he went through in detention.

Karrubi, who has said that postelection detainees have been "savagely" raped in prison, said earlier this month that one of his rape witnesses had disappeared. Sharifi says he's Karrubi's witness and he decided to go into hiding following threats against his family.

The young man says he was told by a security officer, who first claimed to be a friend of his father, that if he talked about his experience with a special parliamentary commission investigating the postelection violence, he and his family would be killed in a fake accident. Sharifi says the man told him, "You know we will do it." Sharifi says that because of this threat he went into hiding and has been in hiding since.

He sent the video to Allamezadeh and asked him to make it public. Allamezadeh had recently posted testimony by two women who were raped in Iranian prisons in the 1980s. Sharifi says he decided to send a letter about his plight in prison to Allamezadeh so that someone outside Iran would know about it in case something happened to him and Karrubi.

The recent rape allegations have been very embarrassing for the Islamic establishment and Karrubi has come under increasing pressure for publicizing them. Sharifi says he was interrogated for 11 hours and pressured to confess that he had received money from Karrubi to make the rape allegations.

He says he thought many times about committing suicide, but he adds that he also thinks about his rights and the violations of the rights of people such as him. He says he didn't support any particular candidate in the June 12 presidential election, but he was campaigning against the reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

On September 13 an Iranian judicial panel said that all evidence of rape provided by Karrubi was fabricated and politically motivated. In its report, the panel called for libel charges to be considered against those making the claims.

The report by the three-man panel was issued a day after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the opposition that anyone questioning the principles of the Islamic republic would be confronted.

There's also growing rumors about the possible arrest of Karrubi. Last week Karrubi's office was raided and documents confiscated, while of his senior aides and the editor in chief of his website have been arrested.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More