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Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons

18. At Dastgerd, I surrendered what clothes and personal belongings I had to the prison authorities. I donned the prison garb assigned to me and was shuffled back into line with the other incoming prisoners. The line led me to a small room where prison authorities took my picture and my fingerprints before issuing me an ID card. From there, I was transferred to the health clinic where I was vaccinated, cleaned and shaved. I stayed in the health clinic for three days nursing my wounds before a man named Amini took me to my general ward.

19. I was 20 years old at the time of my imprisonment; consequently, I was assigned to the juvenile ward. On my first night at the juvenile ward, I was placed on the floor of the mosque of the ward and instructed to sleep there. The next day, the head of our ward, Baqiri, spoke to all of the new prisoners at the main office. Baqiri told us that we were to grow beards and enlightened us to the rules of the prison. From there we were divided into small groups and sent to our respective rooms in the ward

20. The rooms were small and crowded. My room had 14 people living in it but could fit. Due to the space constraints, when it came time to sleep, we were forced to do so in shifts with some people sleeping and others staying in the praying room. We occupied every square inch of that room.

21. Living in such close quarters with other prisoners, I learned many of their stories. I was living with men who had murdered, smuggled contraband and were addicted to hard core drugs. Even with their long rap sheets, none of my cell mates would admit to being homosexual. They would not make such an admission because they feared the consequences. If prison authorities discovered you were homosexual, they made life very difficult for you. Unfortunately, my file was clearly marked; in Esfahan, I confessed to “engaging in homosexual activity” and to “being a homosexual.”

22. Due to the fact that I am homosexual, I was transferred from the juvenile section to the consultation ward. The purpose of the consultation ward is indoctrination. There, I was forced to read the Quran, take ideological classes and pray to Allah.



23. The difficulties of being homosexual did not begin and end at the consultation ward. During my time at Dastgerd, I was targeted as homosexual and brutally raped several times by prison authorities. I know it was prison authorities who raped me because of the ease with which they bypassed the prison’s intricate security system. The men who raped me did not do so in a solitary cell but navigated the prison and moved me from a public cell to a more private cell so they could take their time with me. An ordinary prisoner would not have been able to move another prisoner from a public cell to a private cell without being disturbed by prison authorities.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, Sexual Violence, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment