The Iranian regime’s advocates in the West are not only negotiating and dealing with a country that is ranked highest in the world when it comes to carrying out executions, but they are also defending a regime that is currently conducting the most sadistic methods of torture in modern history.
Recent revelations by Ajab Gol Nour Zehi, a Baluch prisoner and resident of Iranshahr in the Sistan and Baluchistan province, shed light on some of these horrific medieval penal practices currently being imposed on prisoners by Iranian government agents.
Gol Nour Zehi states that
They ruthlessly subjected me to beating with cables on the head and face and back such that after nearly one and half years the signs of the flogging with cables can be seen on my body…In the first 20 days of arrest, every day a number of officers with guns hung me and at the same time beat me (with cable and rifle butts) for several hours. The beatings with rifle butts resulted in fracture of tibia in my legs and created a hole in it to an extent that a finger can be placed inside it. The traces of fractures are still present in my legs…. They brutally stabbed me on the soles of my feet and left side of the abdomen, near the bladder, and severely wounded me such that the signs of the wounds on my body are still present and obvious.
These are some of the torture methods utilized to force false confessions. Gol Nour Zehi explains further that,
They would torture me to force me take the responsibility for a murder which I did not know anything about. One of the tortures they used was to staple my ears. They stapled my both ears that caused bleeding from both ears and blood would run down my shoulders towards my chest. I could not do anything except moaning and screaming. When they got no results from all these tortures, they took my clothes off and while I was completely naked they started mocking me. They burned sensitive parts of my body in 21 areas with lighters such that a lot of pus still comes out of the wounds. I lost consciousness under the tortures several times and each time they would bring an ambulance to bring me back to consciousness and then the torturers would start to torture me again. When I did not confess, they transferred me from the intelligence office in Iranshahr to the intelligence office in Zahedan where I was beaten and tortured again on the same wounds by judiciary agents and their head Mollashahi.
The victim adds, “They would hang me every day under the scorching sun from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and these tortures continued for one week.”
According to some, the torturers were members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), head of the intelligence office in Iranshahr, and members of the government militia group Basiji, such as Omid Siah Khani and Basiji Kalak.
The victims are speaking out now about their heinous treatment in an attempt to gain the attention of UN officials. They are willing to display the permanent scars scattered all over their bodies, life long reminders of the horrors they faced, and indisputable evidence of the torture that they endured. Beyond the inhumane acts already described, women are also frequently raped in prison. Although torture is rampant throughout Iran’s prison system, Evin prison is known to be one of the most nefarious and notorious.
A recent report by Amnesty International noted that “Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and was committed with impunity” in Iran. The report continued,
Courts continued to impose, and the authorities continued to carry out, punishments that violate the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. These were sometimes carried out in public and included flogging, blinding and amputations. On 3 March the authorities in Karaj deliberately blinded a man in his left eye after a court sentenced him to “retribution-in-kind” (qesas) for throwing acid into the face of another man. He also faced blinding of his right eye. The authorities postponed punishment of another prisoner scheduled for 3 March; he was sentenced to blinding and being made deaf.
On 28 June, authorities at the Central Prison in Mashhad, Khorasan Province, and amputated four fingers from the right hands of two men sentenced for theft, apparently without anesthetic.
Sentences of flogging were also carried out. In June, a Deputy Prosecutor General in Shiraz announced that 500 people had been arrested and 480 of them had been tried and convicted within 24 hours for publicly breaking their fast during Ramadan. Most received flogging sentences administered by the Office for Implementation of Sentences. Some floggings were reportedly carried out in public.
If they truly defend social justice and individual rights, the Iranian regime’s advocates and defenders in the West, human rights organizations, and dominant liberal media outlets need to initiate a full investigation on the use of torture in the Islamic Republic. One method to accomplish this is to use the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. Otherwise, they are being complicit in these crimes committed by Iranian leaders. With the stories of these victims, and the undeniable evidence that remains on their bodies, no one can claim ignorance.