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Life Talk!

Reza, a victim of sexual abuse in Iran prisons, tells his painful story.


Iran, Islamic Republic Of


The 15-year-old boy sits weeping in a safehouse in central Iran, broken in body and spirit. Reza will not go outside — he is terrified of being left alone. He says he wants to end his life and it is not hard to understand why: for daring to wear the green wristband of Iran’s opposition he was locked up for 20 days, beaten, raped repeatedly and subjected to the Abu Ghraib-style sexual humiliations and abuse for which the Iranian regime denounced the United States.


“My life is over. I don’t think I can ever recover,” he said, as he recounted his experiences to The Times — on condition that his identity not be revealed. A doctor who is treating him, at great risk to herself, confirmed that he is suicidal, and bears the appalling injuries consistent with his story. The family is desperate, and is exploring ways of fleeing Iran.


Reza is living proof of the charges levelled by Mehdi Karoubi, one of the opposition’s leaders, that prison officials are systematically raping both male and female detainees to break their wills. The regime has accused Mr Karoubi of helping Iran’s enemies by spreading lies and has threatened to arrest him.


The boy’s treatment also shows just how far a regime that claims to champion Islamic values is prepared to go to suppress millions of its own citizens who claim that President Ahmadinejad’s re-election was rigged.


Reza’s ordeal began in mid-July when he was arrested with about 40 other teenagers during an opposition demonstration in a large provincial city. Most were too young even to have voted. They were taken to what he believes was a Basiji militia base where they were blindfolded, stripped to their underwear, whipped with cables and then locked in a steel shipping container. That first night Reza was singled out by three men in plain clothes who had masqueraded as prisoners. As the other boys watched, they pushed him to the ground. One held his head down, another sat on his back and the third urinated on him before raping him.


“They were telling us they were doing this for God, and who did we think we were that we could demonstrate,” Reza said. The men told the other boys they would receive the same treatment if they did not co-operate when interrogated the next day.


Reza was then taken outside, tied to a metal pole and left there all night. The next morning one of the men returned. He asked whether Reza had learnt his lesson. “I was angry. I spat in his face and began cursing him. He elbowed me in the face a couple of times and slapped me.” Twenty minutes later, he says, the man returned with a bag full of excrement, shoved it in Reza’s face and threatened to make him eat it.


Reza was later taken to an interrogation room where he told his questioner he had been raped. “I made a mistake. He sounded kind, but my eyes were blindfolded. He said he would go look into it and I was hopeful,” Reza said.


Instead, the interrogator ordered Reza to be tied up and raped him again, saying: “This time I’ll do it, so you’ll learn not to tell these tales anywhere else. You deserve what’s coming to you. You guys should be raped until you die.”


He was subjected to further brutal sexual abuse — and locked up for three days of solitary confinement.


Reza was then forced to sign a “confession” in which he said that foreign forces had told him and his friends to burn banks and state media buildings. He was told to identify as the ringleader a 16-year-old friend who had been so badly beaten that he was in hospital.


“I was shaking so much I couldn’t even hear what they were saying,” said Reza. “I just signed whatever they put in front of me without looking at it. I was scared they would rape me again.”


The next day Reza and other detainees were transferred to a police detention centre, where he was held for a further week.


On the third day, police officers entered the cell in the middle of the night, blindfolded him and led him to the toilet, where he was again raped. “My hands began shaking, my legs were weak and I couldn’t stand up properly. I fell down and smashed my head hard on the ground to try and kill myself. I started screaming and shouting for them to kill me. I just couldn’t bear it anymore. I hated myself,” he said, weeping at the memory.


The following morning he was summoned by a police commander, who asked why he had been screaming the previous night. When he explained, he was asked to identify his rapist. The boy said he had been blindfolded, so the chief commander hit him and accused him of lying. He was forced to sign a letter admitting he had made baseless accusations against the security forces.


Reza’s ordeal was far from over. He was taken with about 130 other prisoners to the city’s Revolutionary Court, where they were herded into a yard. The judge told them that he would hang those who had violently resisted the Islamic revolution and read out the names of ten teenagers, including Reza. The message was clear: if they continued to say they had been raped they would be executed.


The judge sent them to the city’s central prison, where Reza was handcuffed and held in a small cell with six other boys for ten more days. In the evenings officers beat the boys and taunted them with the words: “You want to cause a revolution?.


Periodically, the most senior officer would take the boys away, three at a time. “When they returned they would be very quiet and uneasy,” Reza said. When his turn came he and the others were led into a small room and ordered to strip and have sex with each other. “He told us that with this we would be cleansed — we would be so shattered that we would no longer be able to look at each other. This would help calm us down.”


After 20 days Reza’s family finally secured his release on bail of about £45,000 — and with a final warning that he should say nothing about his treatment. His brother said: “A friend of mine who is a guard in the prison where Reza was being held had told me he was ill. The night he was released he was crying uncontrollably; then he broke down and told my mother everything.”


The family persuaded a hospital doctor they knew to treat him, despite the danger to herself. She has treated his physical injuries and given him antibiotics and sedatives but cannot perform an internal examination. Reza is deeply traumatised, terrified of being returned to prison and barely sleeps.


The doctor told The Times that other detainees had suffered a similiar fate. “We have many cases in the hospital but we can’t report on them. They won’t let us open a file. They don’t want any paperwork,” she said.


Drewery Dyke, an Amnesty International Iran researcher, said that Reza’s case was “consistent with other reports we have received in terms of the severity of disregard for human dignity, the unrestricted abuse without any recourse to justice, the involvement even of judicial persons in rape abuse and the denial of the basic right to healthcare”.


Reza, at least, survived to tell the world his story. The 16-year-old friend he had to name as the ringleader has since died in hospital from his injuries.



06:00 AM Aug 24 2009 |

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Iran, Islamic Republic Of


 I have to say untill now u

& the others like u

couldn't prove ur & their claims.

u & them just make a story which

hasn't any ducument to prove that

please talk reasonable & logical

Don't  stand  against ur country

with this kind of stories

that u can't prove them.

writing & telling story is easy but

please say something which u can prove it.


04:39 PM Aug 27 2009 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Hi Sina,


If you see result of most polls about the news of raping in the net, you see that most people believe it because most Iranians don’t have faith in government anymore. And it happens to governments like Mohammad Reza Pahlavi that won’t listen to wishes of people.


You are accusing me to be against of my country that I’m a liar and a story maker but it’s not true, at least in this case. I’m not that kind of person, Today some of Iran MP admitted raping of some detainees and I’ll put more detail in my next post.

05:55 PM Aug 27 2009 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Iran MP says rape of some vote detainees proven


TEHRAN (Reuters) – Some Iranian reformers jailed after the disputed presidential election were raped in prison, a member of a parliamentary investigation said on Thursday.


"Raping of some detainees with a baton and soda bottle has been proven to us," the Parlemannews website quoted the unidentified lawmaker from the investigative committee as saying.


Iran's defeated presidential candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, had said some imprisoned protesters were raped and abused in jail, a charge government officials rejected as "baseless."


But parliament speaker Ali Larijani said last week he would be ready to consider any documents or other evidence submitted by Karoubi to back up his claims.


Larijani had ordered the formation of the parliamentary committee to investigate the plight of detainees, most of whom were held during mass protests following the results of the June 12 election.


Karoubi, a moderate, had said four people were ready to testify to parliament that they were sexually abused in jail if their security was guaranteed.


The pro-reform cleric has angered some hardliners in power for raising the allegations and they suggested Karoubi should be jailed or lashed if he failed to prove his claims.


Another moderate, losing candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, backed Karoubi and accused "establishment agents" of raping and abusing detainees.


Iranian moderates say the June vote was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, a charge the authorities deny.


05:59 PM Aug 27 2009 |

Whitney S

Whitney S


This is horrible, terrible!

I JUST HATE ALL PEOPLE WHO DO THAT KIND OF THINGS. How can a human being do that to another one? that is not normal, that person is not a human being, neither an animal because even animals do not do that kind of things to each other.

I am terrified to hear this story, because even it is amazing I am sure this in not the only case, there are millions more that have not been revealed to the public. I know blaming is not ok, but when I read this all I wanna do is to blame all that crazy people 

All I have to say is: I HOPE ALL THOSE CRAZY PEOPLE PAY FOR ALL THEY DID IN EARTH, NOT ONLY IN HELL. I am not God to say this, but I really hope.

01:28 AM Aug 28 2009 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

dear friend green 88
I think u live in ur imagination
not in real life,
cuz as all know the results of the election
was 24 500 000 for Ahmadinejad
& about 13 500 000 for mr moosavi,
so the majority & minority are so clear.
of course the minority claimed
there have been some cheatings but as u know
they couldn't prove their huge claim.
& be sure they can't too,
because making over 11 000 000 votes
for mr Ahmadinejad or any one else is impossible
logically & executively.
they have enough time to prove their claim
even our government gave 5 days as extra time

to do that but unfortunately no one couldn't say
how can possible to make this huge numbers of votes?
if u can prove it please do it.
when the main claim is unproved untill now
how u expected we believe another undocumented
new claims ?
are the people fool?
if u know the basic steps of discussion skills 
u have to know until  the first question , 

is unansweared u can't expected the others
even u can't  listen to the new claims.
about new claims :

 let me say, as u mentioned
some unknown persons have said that …
how can we believe that?
yes u r trying to show a black face of ur
country here which is unnecessary &

ur target won't be useful for u & ur country.
no one but ourselves can't solve our problems
what is ur expectation about others?
if u want to say something against ur country
be sure all of western media during 30 years
after our great Islamic revolution have said
more greater than u,

like their claim about iranian
peaceful usage of nuclear energy

which they couldn't
prove that untill now too.
I have to say no one isn't our friend even we change
our mind & our ways to living ,they wanna use our
Abilities to acheave their Targets.
so please be Smart & don't help them

to sepreat our nation,

of course we have many problems but please don't let others

come & destroy all of our dear country.
Be sure  i accept mr Ahmadinejad has done some mistakes too ,

but he is our president officially & we have to support 

our president to support our  dear country.
if some one else had become our president

we had to support him too.


06:09 AM Aug 28 2009 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Dear withney S &  pievinis

thanks for ur nice manner ,

we all are against this kind of manners in anywhere.

as u mentioned there are many of this kind of cases

in many countries.

i hope we can solve this worst Action aginest people

around the world.


06:16 AM Aug 28 2009 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

hi dear djouzi

thanks for ur support.


06:32 AM Aug 28 2009 |




I heard about it…i believe it for a while…but I have a doubt on what had happened…Who have been charge over the case…?,Who took the investigate?,Who is now under custody?where is the proof of DNA ?,the injury?how many person accuse and came up with the same stories and proof ..Just because of somebodys saying this and that,and we didn't know the source…??I say don't easy believe and don't easly taken "as yes"on what you've heard…Everything must be held under some proof and invetigations…

07:43 AM Aug 28 2009 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Hi Sina


Although I voted to Mousavi but I never discussed about the election in this forum yet, and I’m not going to talk about it right now, I’m talking about after the election happenings and what’s happening in prisons in Iran, and those who are break human rights, the issue that Iranian official accepted too so if you be a little fair you see that they’re not my imaginations but they’re reality of Iran.


"Raping of some detainees with a baton and soda bottle has been proven to us," the Parlemannews website quoted the unidentified lawmaker from the investigative committee as saying.


It is what government and investigative committee are saying not me and if you don’t believe it then it’s not my problem and I’m not lawyer of the victims so I’m not in a place to prove anything, I only express my opinions and you’re free to say yours.

08:44 AM Aug 28 2009 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

dear shadzoo

u r right

i agree with u

thanks for ur comment.


08:50 AM Aug 28 2009 |