Ebrahim Raisi must be brought to justice for crimes against humanity
On International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we call for justice for victims of torture and execution in Iran
Ebrahim Raisi must be brought to justice for crimes against humanity
June 26, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, is a United Nations-sponsored World Day to honor and support victims of torture around the world. This year’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture coincides with the presidency of Ebrahim Raisi, the “henchman of the 1988 massacre” in Iran. For the past four decades, Raisi has been involved in some of the worst forms of repression, torture, killing, and crimes against humanity against Iran’s women and youth.
After the 1979 revolution, under Khomeini, Ebrahim Raisi was elected as a religious judge. He was also a member of the Death Commissions that, at Khomeini’s behest in 1988, executed more than 30,000 political prisoners as part of a massacre. His recent record as head of the clerical regime’s Judiciary is marked by the slaughter of more than 1,500 in November 2019, and the arrest and detention under torture of at least 12,000 protesters.
Recent investigations by Iranian academics in the U.S. and the U.K. universities, however, show that the number of those killed during the November 2019 uprising is more than three times greater. The research done with considerable accuracy indicates that the number of those who passed away in November 2019 was 4,200 more than the previous month in October and 4,900 more than the following month in December. Therefore, the actual number of martyrs is approximately three times more than the 1,500 declared by the PMOI at the time.
Iranian society’s collective conscience was severely scarred by the summer 1988 massacre and the vicious slaughter of protesters in November 2019.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said, “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”
Torture of women
During the mullahs’ rule in Iran, more than 45 types of torture have been used against political prisoners in Iranian prisons:
Flogging, beating, suspension from the ceiling, burning, insertion of sharp objects (including hot metal objects) into the body, nail-pulling, rape, eye-gouging, amputation, and mock executions are common practice.
The pressure on and torture of female prisoners has been doubly intense and brutal. Crimes include raping women in front of their husbands and torturing and/or shooting pregnant women.
Horrifying torture methods used on women
- Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian journalist: She was arrested on June 23, 2003, while photographing a gathering of prisoners’ families in front of Evin Prison. She was tortured during her imprisonment and died on July 11, 2003, in Baqiyatallah Military Hospital. Finally, it was revealed that Ms. Kazemi had been raped in prison.
- Tahereh Habibifard in Shiraz Prison: Tahereh was 4 months pregnant at the time of her arrest. She was a supporter of the Mojahedin Khalq (PMOI). Agents drove nails into her chest while whipping her. The agents then cut off three of her fingers. Her body was burned so badly that parts of it were completely destroyed. During her execution by shooting, one of the bullets hit Tahereh in the stomach, and her fetus fell to the ground. Her husband was also executed the same day.
- Maryam Mohammadi Bahmanabadi in Evin Prison: Maryam was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. She suffered a torn eardrum as a result of torture. In addition to being subjected to the whip and the cable, she was hanged several times before her half-dead body was taken down. Her spine was severely damaged to ensure that she could never again live a normal life. Her brother, Mohammad Reza, was executed after being severely tortured in front of Maryam.
- Azam Taghdareh in Evin Prison: Azam was hanged in Evin in September 1988. Before being executed, she had sustained severe injuries to her legs, and part of her foot had to be amputated due to torture during a botched surgery.
- Razieh Amari in Tabriz Prison: Razieh was arrested in Mashhad. Despite being pregnant, she was severely tortured before being transferred to Tabriz Prison. There, she was tortured even more. Her cellmate wrote, “Her kidneys were constantly bleeding, and she had suffered a cigarette burn in the chest.”
- Mah Monir Moadab in Tabriz Prison: According to her cellmate, “When I saw her, she said she had been flogged more than 160 times. She had convulsions and was in and out of a coma. A few days later, she was transferred to court by the IRGC, where she was flogged another 100 times. All that was left of her were veins and skin and bones. She said that they had not given her water for several days. The bones in her spine were filled with pus; she was exuding pus from a hole in her body …”.
- Elaheh Daknama in Adelabad Prison in Shiraz: Elaheh was severely tortured and shot in Adelabad Prison. When authorities handed her body over to her family, she was wearing clothing with writing on it: she had been raped seven times before being shot.
Torture in prisons and detention centers in recent years
- Negar Haeri, a lawyer and former political prisoner, was summoned to Evin Court on May 18, 2015. She was interrogated, tortured, pressured, and threatened by interrogators for a full day in the women’s ward of Evin Prison and for another 9 in a solitary confinement cell.
- Zeinab Jalalian was arrested in March 2008 on charges of collaborating with an opposition Kurdish party and was eventually sentenced to life in prison. This political prisoner has suffered a breakdown in health due to torture and prison conditions. She is being tortured for conducting a television interview and has been making forced confessions.
- Farideh Khoshnam, 32, from Takab, has a bachelor’s degree in law. She was arrested on July 30, 2004, and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, 80 lashes, and internal exile to Kerman Prison. Ms. Khoshnam was viciously tortured under interrogation at the Department of Intelligence’s detention center in Takab and seriously injured in the eye and legs.
- Shokoufeh Yadollahi, a Sufi woman held in Qarchak Prison, lost her sense of smell after being beaten during her arrest and torture.
- The women of Gonabadi dervishes were beaten with a baton and an electric prod in Qarchak Prison in Varamin on June 13, 2018.
- Mary Mohammadi, a political prisoner, and Christian convert was subjected to physical and sexual torture during interrogation. In addition to beating her, female prison officers conducted a physical examination. During the examination, the officers forced Mary to remove all her clothing before ordering her to do squats repeatedly. The officers had threatened to strip her forcibly if she did not remove her clothes herself.
- Shahla Mohammadiani, 28, was interrogated and tortured for 67 days in solitary confinement in Mahabad intelligence cells. Heiman Mohammadiani, the prisoner’s brother, said his sister was tortured to such an extent that her left shoulder had lost all strength.
- Afsaneh Bayazidi wrote about the torture and ill-treatment she was subjected to during her detention.
“I was tortured by every conceivable tool for 90 days. Initially, I could not walk on my feet due to vicious torture. My legs and back were bruised. I was hanged by my feet and hands at least twice for several hours. They used all methods to extract confessions from me. They threatened me with rape. I was detained for 11 days in the lavatory of the Intelligence Department’s detention center, and I was given food in the same place. Every night, agents kicked on the door so that I could not rest. They called me a prostitute.”
- Political prisoner Massoumeh Senobari, 33-year-old mother, was arrested and taken for interrogation on February 24, 2019. Her leg broke while she was under savage torture during the interrogation. The bottom of her foot was fractured, and she suffered from blurred vision, among other ailments due to torture. Recently, she has been suffering from pain in the breast due to a mass suspected of being cancerous.
- Zahra Safaei, 58, suffered a heart attack after being harassed and mistreated by Qarchak Prison officials on October 27, 2020.
- Political prisoners Zahra Safaei and Golrokh Iraee were threatened with death by an ordinary inmate on November 2, 2020. Mrs. Safaei was also beaten in the head by batons during a violent raid on December 13, 2020, when 20 prison guards broke into Ward 8 and brutalized all political prisoners.