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Iran's Police Chief Denies Allegations of Prisoner Rapes


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Iran's police chief says an official investigation has turned up no evidence of prisoners being raped at a detention center which was closed in August following allegations that anti-government protesters had been mistreated. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is also, once again, blaming the West for the widespread unrest that erupted in Iran following the disputed June election.

Iranian police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam told the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) Wednesday that it has been proven that no one was raped at the now closed government detention center of Kahrizak.

He did admit, however, that "some offenses were committed" at Kahrizak, but refused to go into detail. A number of individuals directly responsible for the prison were suspended and are due to be tried in the case.

Defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi first raised the issue of rape and torture of detainees on his website in August, and the center was eventually closed upon the order of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Ayatollah told a crowd of cheering supporters, again, Wednesday, that Western enemies were responsible for the widespread unrest following the disputed June 12 presidential election and a subsequent government crackdown on opposition supporters.

Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly accused Western powers and the Western media of instigating weeks of public protest in the aftermath of the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, amid accusations of vote fraud.

He says that Iran's enemies spread insults, lies and innuendo to denigrate Mr. Ahmedinejad's large election victory. He says those same enemies also fomented unrest in parts of Iran because they did not like the massive support of the Iranian people for Mr. Ahmedinejad.

Reza Moini of Paris-based Reporters Without Borders insists that the Iranian police chief's denial of rape allegations Wednesday, "have no legal value" because he denied the same allegations even before any investigation took place.

Moini adds that an investigative committee, close to Karrubi, spoke with many former detainees and uncovered a number of cases of rape.

He says there are a few known cases of rape, including individuals who spoke with Karrubi and other Iranian political leaders, as well as different world humanitarian groups. He adds that many of those who were raped and tortured are afraid to publicly recount what happened to them. Recently, he notes, one individual who said he was raped fled Iran and did tell his story to the media.

Around 4,000 Iranian opposition activists, demonstrators, students, journalists and teachers were arrested in the wave of government crackdowns following the protests over Iran's disputed June 12 election.