News / Middle East

Iran Parliament Report Blames Torture on Former Tehran Prosecutor



Months after Iranian opposition leaders denounced acts of torture and rape at the infamous Kahrizak detention center, the country's parliament has released a report detailing incidents of mistreatment and suspicious deaths.  Notorious former Tehran prosecutor general Saeed al-Mortazevi was blamed by the report.

An Iranian parliamentary committee investigating cases of torture and rape at the government's Kahrizak detention center in the weeks following a disputed June 12 presidential election has taken the unusual step of condemning government officials for what took place.

The committee report blames former Tehran prosecutor and government stalwart Saeed Mortazavi for ordering opposition protesters to be sent to the over-crowded Kahrizak facility.

The report says three detainees died as a result of violence and mediocre conditions at the prison, but it denies anyone was raped.

Several former detainees, one of whom later fled to Europe, recounted incidents of torture, brutality and rape in the weeks after they were released. 

Iranian film-maker Reza Allamehzadeh, who lives in exile in Holland, interviewed detainee Ibrahim Sharify who explained how he was raped and tortured at Kahrizak. He said that Ibrahim Sharify, who says in the interview he was raped, is living proof rape and torture exist in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Journalist Babak Daad also detailed various incidents of torture and rape of young detainees at Kahrizak to the VOA's Persian Service. He said a number of young people were raped at the Kahrizak detention center, detailing their brutal treatment at the hands of their jailors.

Former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi was the first person to denounce acts of brutality and rape, last summer. 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the facility closed last August.  Three prison officials were suspended and later charged with murder.

The report to parliament marks a significant shift in the official position regarding brutality at Kahrizak.  Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmedi-Moghadam initially denied detainees had been brutalized, before admitting that acts of mistreatment took place.

Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham in Britain, who runs the popular Iran blog Enduring America, says the attack on Saeed Mortazevi by some members of parliament is a direct attack on President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

"On Mortazavi, to take the narrow case, I would read that in that you have got a push being made by a number of people who are dissatisfied with the president, and Mortazavi is the guy they are try to take out initially, because if they can take Mortazavi down it is a sign of their power and can eclipse Ahmedinejad's authority.  What I would be watching for, in particular, is whether Ahmedinejad comes out with a defense of Mortazavi or just lets him go," he said.

Lucas also thinks that some factions in parliament are trying to appease the opposition by responding to a five-point reconciliation plan put forth by opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi. 

"The easy read is that there are factions around the supreme leader who may be looking to get some kind of conciliation with those who have had some criticism of the post-election behavior.  That being said, what makes it complicated, and I cannot prove this, is that the supreme leader's office is in disarray," he said.

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