When spontaneous street demonstrations broke out following the fraudulent Iranian presidential election last June, the Mullahs lost no time in unleashing the security forces and their allied militias upon the protesters. Scores were killed, and images of the carnage made the rounds of YouTube and other outlets.
The demonstrations were crushed. Hundreds of protesters and opposition activists were taken into custody in the brutal crackdown that followed, and the Western media soon lost interest in the story. For those (mostly young people) now in custody, however, their nightmare was just about to begin.
Most of the demonstrators were taken to a prison on the outskirts of Tehran called Kahrizak, where they were subjected to widespread abuse, including rape and torture.
Ramin Pourandarjani was a 26-year-old doctor working at the prison. He witnessed the abuse of those taken there, and it sickened him. One day, a young protester was brought to him after one such torture session. “He was brought to me in a dreadful state after being subjected to extreme physical torture. He was in a critical state” There was nothing Dr. Pourandarjani could do. The young man died. Security officials forced Dr. Pourandarjani to list meningitis as the cause of death. This was the last straw.
Dr. Pourandarjani could no longer be a pawn of the Mullahs, and began to talk about what he saw. He ultimately ended up testifying before a parliamentary committee as to the abuses he witnessed at Kahrizak, describing how people were being tortured to death there.
Although he didn’t know it at the time, Dr. Pourandarjani had just signed his own death warrant.
One day, a deliveryman dropped off a take-out meal. Dr. Pourandarjani took it to his room, ate it, went into convulsions and died. The salad was poisoned.
Now all the Iranians had to do was cover it up.
Dr. Pourandarjai, they explained, had died in a car accident. Later, they changed the cause of death to cardiac arrest. When his parents and others began to ask questions, the Iranians changed the story yet again: Dr. Pourandarjai, it was announced, had killed himself.
A week after Dr. Pourandarjai’s death, Iran’s top police commander, Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, officially announced the cause of death as being a suicide. He said the doctor was facing criminal charges over “failure to fulfill his duties to treat the detainees” and had killed himself in despair in a courthouse lounge. The commander said a note was found with the body. As far as the government is concerned, that is the end of the matter.
Although they have been beaten down, pro-reform demonstrators have not given up. A major anti-government protest is scheduled for Monday, December 7, and Dr. Pourandarjai’s mysterious death has acted as a catalyst by providing one more example of the regime’s brutality.
“I understand now,” said one student planning on attending Monday’s protest, “that we are in a state of war.”
In response, the regime has mobilized its secret police, guards and militias, announcing that it will be looking for “troublemakers” at the protest
Let’s hope they find them. Millions of them.