An influential human rights activist in Iran has written to the BBC from prison to describe the sexual and physical torture suffered by women detained during recent anti-government protests.
According to Narges Mohammadi, these assaults have increased frequently during recent protests.
She is currently in Tehran’s notorious Evin jail for a hefty term.
Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been detain for breaking rigid dress restrictions, passed away in detention in September, which served as the impetus for the protests.
Midway through September, she was taken into custody by morality officers for reportedly donning her hijab, or headscarf, “improperly.”
Human rights activists claim that thousands more demonstrators have been detain while over 500 have been slain, including 69 children. According to reports, dozens of Iranian security personnel were also murder.
Those detain are said to have endure torture and other cruel treatment while in custody.
The Defenders of Human Rights Center, run by Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is led by Ms. Mohammadi. Since 2011, she has served several prison terms for “spreading propaganda,” and is presently behind bars.
She was also list this year on the prestigious BBC 100 Women list, which honors 100 globally significant and inspirational women.
‘Hands and legs tied to hook.’
Some of the women detained during the most recent demonstrations, according to Ms. Mohammadi’s letter, were sent to the women’s ward at Evin prison.
That allowed her to hear horrifying specifics of the abuse they endured.
She claims that a well-known activist was sexually rape by security personnel after having her wrists and legs tied to a hook over her head in the car transporting her to prison.
Iran’s state television has refuted reports that security agents have raped and sexually assaulted female protestors.
According to a report on December 19, allegations of rape in the Western media were “rumours” and “baseless,” and housed female detainees in facilities staffed exclusively by women.
Iran, however, continues to severely censor domestic coverage of the protests; according to a recent assessment, it is now the third-largest jailer of journalists worldwide.
Ms. Mohammadi claims that reporting abuse may result in the intimidation of the relatives of women who are detain, but she still thinks it’s important to do so to try to stop it.
She continue by saying that this was particularly crucial given the strain on Iran’s civil society.
In her closing paragraph, Ms. Mohammadi expressed her confidence that Iran’s “brave, resilient, vivacious and hopeful women” would triumph.
“Victory means introducing democracy, peace, and human rights, as well as putting an end to tyranny,” she proclaimed.
We are not going to give up.