Iranian women political prisoners speak out against sexual threats

SUNDAY, 29 MAY 2011

Radiozamaneh – Female political prisoners in the quarantine section of Iran’s Evin Prison have issued a letter for Iranian Women’s Day, saying they have suffered repeated sexual threats by their interrogators.

The letter, which was published on the opposition website Kaleme, indicates that male interrogators have often forced these female activists “to make false self-incriminating confessions” by threatening them with sexual assault.

The letter indicates that sexual threats are commonly used to “break the resistance” of female detainees.

In addition to sexual threats, they describe being subjected to “beatings and other forms of torture”, and add “In the detention centres of the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, subjecting prisoners to various forms of torture including slapping, throwing objects and even the chair at the prisoner, and severe beatings … are common practices.”

Many of the female political prisoners who had been sent to the general section of Evin Prison have now been moved to the quarantine section of the prison, which is referred to as the “methadone ward.” This section, which was used for detainees suffering from withdrawal symptoms of drug use, lacks all the facilities provided for prisoners in other sections.

The signatories of the letter say they are denied regular access to fresh air or any form of recreational activity. Even phone calls to their families are forbidden.

Currently, 32 female political prisoners are being held in the cramped quarantine hall (methadone ward) of Evin Prison and they have been told they will soon be transferred to Varamin Prison.

Last month, another 11 women political activists were arrested or recalled to prison to serve out their sentences.



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