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Violent Aftermath: The 2009 Election and Suppression of Dissent in Iran

The fourth interrogation started like the other ones. He asked the same questions. Then he said, “Apparently you don’t want to talk, no?” When he saw that I said nothing, he said, “You don’t want to cooperate? No?” I said nothing. He said, “OK, fine. You wanted your vote? I am here to give your vote back. I will give you your vote now and you can see if it is any good.” I felt him grab my shoulders. He had never grabbed me this hard while he beat me. He got me up from the chair and took off my clothes by force. I was screaming and crying. I begged him. I swore to everything he believed in. He laughed and said, “I don’t have a God or prophet. Don’t bother yourself [with it].” I was crying and saying, “Please, for God’s sake, I will do whatever you want, whatever you say.” He said, “No, you didn’t cooperate in the beginning and now I want to give your vote back. Why are you upset? Why are you crying? No need for tears. You were being brash and wanted your vote, and I am going to be brash and give your vote back. Don’t cry.”[344]

She was raped again during the next session but by a different interrogator. The third time she was raped, she refused to scream or beg. The fourth time she was raped, her interrogator took off her blindfold so she could see his face.

He sat in front of me and started talking. He asked, “Do you want to be let go? Do you want to stay alive? Do you want to see the outside again?” I cried and said, “Yes. Whatever you say, I’ll do it. Whatever you want. Just let me go. Either kill me or let me go. Don’t hurt me like this anymore.” He laughed and said, “No, we won’t kill you yet.” He said, “We’ll let you go, but there is a condition, and that is that you have to go where we tell you and do as we tell you. Also, you can’t tell a soul about the events that happened here. If you do, we’ll kill you and won’t let you stay alive. We are following you constantly and won’t let you get out of our hands. If you do anything wrong, you wont stay alive. Like many others who died and no one found out, you will die too.”

After I was in that room for a while and he had asked me the questions and raped me [again]… he sat in front of me and started talking. He asked, “Do you want to go out? Do you want to stay alive? Do you want to see the outside again?” I cried and said, “Yes. Whatever you say, I’ll do it. Whatever you want, just let me go. Either kill me or let me go. Don’t hurt me like this anymore.”[345]

My condition of release was that I promised to collaborate with them. I said, “I will do as you ask, just give me some time to heal.” He laughed and said, “You are fine. Maybe you have some body pain and bone pain, or maybe dislocation. But none of these are important. You are still alive.” I said fine. I was supposed to collaborate with them, participate in demonstrations, and take pictures and movies. Get to know the guys and get their numbers, give them my number. This was their plan, but I didn’t go to demonstrations after that.[346]

On August 14, Sabri’s captors dropped her off by a park around dusk. She was instructed to infiltrate and inform on other demonstrators, and later received a number of threatening phone calls urging her to cooperate. She fled to Turkey and sought refuge with the United Nations in Ankara.[347]

Ebrahim Ali Mehtari, a 27-year-old computer science student and IT technician, also sought refuge in Turkey after his post-election arrest. Mehtari was arrested on August 19, near Enghelab Square in Tehran. He was blindfolded and handcuffed, and taken by an unmarked car to an unknown detention center.[348]

The detention center I was in stunk so badly and had such large piles of clothes that I could easily say a dead body was being kept there. There was blood, vomit, excrement, and urine of people. The blanket they gave me was a detailed description of what happened to like 70 people because from the amount of blood spilled on it, it had become as hard as lavashak.[349]

Mehtari recalls being detained for four or five days. In that time, he was under constant taped interrogation. He reports that he was safe so long as he could continue talking. If he had nothing to say or when he decided to resist the interrogators’ suggested answers, he was beaten and tortured.

I can easily say that the length of my stay in the cell was four hours and the length of my sleep at that detention center was zero hours. Almost the whole time I was there I was being interrogated … When they started the tortures they would halt the video. I called it the green light of death because when the green light on the camera came on and the red light that indicated recording would go off I was certainly getting some beatings and had cigarettes put out on my body … I was tortured while interrogated and while tortured, I was raped by the interrogators, and it happened very frequently. I passed out from pain. [350]

By the end of his ordeal, Mehtari had cigarette burns on his head, neck, both hands and shoulders and wrists. He was beaten, sodomized, and after suffering massive head injuries, left for dead in the streets of Tehran.[351]

My nose and ears were bleeding and my whole body was covered in blood. Their physician diagnosed me with a brain hemorrhage. A few decisions were made then of which I don’t have clear memories. The last one, however, was to transfer me to Evin.

The way it works at Evin is that when they accept a person they record what has previously happened to that person. [At Evin], the accusation of torture [is taken] seriously. They record if there is a wound on your body to say that it was there [before the detainee arrived]. Therefore, they try to write down everything about the person they accept and have him sign and report [it] … Now, if they accept a person from another custodian, [then that] custodian has to sign a paper explaining the physical condition of that person, it does not bode too well for that custodian [if there is evidence of torture].

I was taken to Evin at night with handcuffs, bound feet and a blindfold. We went some distance. There were three people in the car, two in the front and one next to me. We got to a place, and I got out. I was bleeding heavily and could not walk. [One of them] tried to make me sit down, but due to the injuries sustained to my buttocks and the back of my thighs, I could not sit. He kept insisting that I sit. I could not, and so he kicked me a few times. He emphasized that I should not make a noise or talk. Then he kicked me in the back one last time and I was confused … I thought I was in the Evin compound, but … I noticed that I was in one of the streets of Tehran in a place that could not be seen by everyone. They had abandoned me among a bunch of trees and bushes and stuff … The family who found me said that I was moaning and calling out to people.[352]

In December 2009, the Majlis Special Committee To Investigate the Situation of the Detainees of the Post-Election Events (Majlis Committee) charged with investigating Kahrizak and allegations of rape of demonstrators in prison issued a report denying any evidence of rape:

The Committee members had other investigations and the committee of the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council also investigated the matter in detail, and the results of all three committees of the Majlis, the judiciary, and the Supreme National Security Council conformed to one another completely, and it is announced that after the comprehensive investigations, we have not gotten to any case of sexual assault and strongly deny that.[353]

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Sexual Violence, Death Penalty, Political Killings, Executions, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Travel Restrictions, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Protests, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination, Reports