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Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons

an isolated case and that women prisoners were systematically raped by judges and high-ranking officials. She alleged there were suites available in prisons for that specific purpose. 36

Canadian-Iranian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested and detained in Evin prison in 2003. She was admitted to the hospital a few days later with extensive injuries, including evidence that she had suffered a “‘very brutal rape.’” She died from her injuries.37 A student activist reported that when he and fellow activists were detained in July 2007, interrogators threatened them with rape with soda bottles or hot eggs in an effort to convince them to confess to serious charges. 38

However, Islamic Republic authorities have consistently denied allegations of rape, and failed to address complaints, intervene or protect victims.39 The United Nations has never received a satisfactory response to its repeated requests for verification of rape allegations. For example, in response to a request for verification of the rape allegations against the religious judge in 1992, the Iranian Ambassador stated that the name had not been found in the Ghazvin prison or civil registries. He also reported that there had not been any proven case of torture in Iran in 1990 and 1991.40 In 2001, the U.N. Special Representative and the Rapporteur on Violence Against Women requested information regarding Soraya Dalaian’s rape allegations. The Islamic Republic responded with the alleged dates of her imprisonment but did not address the rape allegations.41

In 2009, multiple regime agencies launched investigations into the deplorable conditions, including allegations of sexual abuse and rape, at the Kahrizak Detention Center. While some guards and judicial officials were arrested and disciplined,42 the investigators denied finding any evidence of rape. In December 2009, the Majlis Special Committee to Investigate the Situation of the Detainees of the Post-Election Events issued a report that concluded:

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.43

[36] ECOSOC, Commission on Human Rights, Report of the special Rapporteur on Violence agansit women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human rights resolution 2000/49, communication to and from Government, ¶ 49, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2002/83/Add.1 (Jan. 28, 2002) [hereinafter Coomaraswamy Report], available athttp://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G02/104/44/PDF/G0210444.pdf?OpenElement.
[37] IHRDC, IMPUNITY IN IRAN: THE DEATH OF ZAHRA KAZEMI 7-8 (2006), available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3148-impunity-in-iran-the-death-of-photojournalist-zahra-kazemi.html?p=2
[38]See HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, YOU CAN DETAIN ANYONE FOR ANYTHING: IRAN’S BROADENING CLAMPDOWN ON INDEPENDENT ACTIVISM 43 (2008).

[39] See Secretary-General Note 1990, supra note 24, at 4; Galindo Pohl Report 1987, supra note 10, at 18-23.
[40] Galindo Pohl Report 1992, supra note 29, ¶ 359.
[41] Coomaraswamy Report, supra note 35, ¶ 50; ECOSOC, Commission on Human Rights, Report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Maurice Danby Copithorne, 31, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2002/42 (Jan. 16, 2002), available at http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/e06a5300f90fa0238025668700518ca4/40fc68cd8a9a97f9c1256b8100525f97/$FILE/G0210126.pdf.
[42] IHRDC, A YEAR LATER: SUPPRESSION CONTINUES IN IRAN 13 (2010), available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3162-a-year-later-suppression-continues-in-iran.html?p=3.
[43] VIOLENT AFTERMATH, supra note 2, at 48.

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