Thursday, July 16, 2009
The rape of Taraneh
Prison Abuse of Iran's Protesters
Shirin Sadeghi, Huffington Post: On Friday, July 19, a large group of mourners gathered at the Ghoba mosque in Tehran to await a speech about the martyrs of the post-election protests by presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. According to one Iranian blog, 28-year-old Taraneh Mousavi was one of a group of people that was arrested by plainclothes security forces for attending the gathering. Taraneh, whose first name is Persian for 'song,' disappeared into arrest.
Weeks later, according to the blog, her mother received an anonymous call from a government agent saying that her daughter had been hospitalized in Imam Khomeini Hospital in the city of Karaj, just north of Tehran -- hospitalized 'for rupturing of her womb and anus in... an unfortunate accident.' When Taraneh's family went to the hospital to find her, they were told she was not there.
According to another Iranian blog which claims to have original information about Taraneh from her family, Iranian security forces contacted Taraneh's family after the hospital visit warning them not to publicize Taraneh's story and not to associate her disappearance with arrests made at post-election protests, claiming instead that she had tried to harm herself because of feeling guilty for having pre-marital sex.
Witnesses have come forward to the various Internet sites who are covering Taraneh's story, stating that she was mentally and physically abused in Tehran's notorious Evin prison and also that a person who matches her physical description and injuries had been treated at the Imam Khomeini Hospital, was unconscious when witnessed and was later transferred out of the hospital while still unconscious...
Despite its agitations for reform, Iranian society remains traditional, according to Iranian-British blogger Potkin Azarmehr, and it's the stigma of rate that is being used as a weapon against the protesters. 'By killing protesters, the government makes martyrs of them, but by raping them and allowing them to live, it makes them shunned in society.'...
The story of Taraneh's condition is still unfolding and there are no certain confirmations of its details beyond the reports of bloggers who are obliged to remain anonymous for safety reasons -- but the idea that political prisoners are being mistreated in this way is not new to Iran and is a significant element of a program of terror which has sustained the current system in Iran.
Taraneh's story must be told and it must be heard. Perhaps her life can still be saved.
Image source here.