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Iranian Mullahs’ Torture Epidemic: UN, EU, Biden Administration Continue Appeasing Anyhow
By Majid Rafizadeh
Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.
While the Biden administration and other members of the United Nations Security Council continue to push for the resuscitation of the disastrous nuclear deal — granting Iran nuclear weapons and global legitimacy — they have turned a blind eye to the mullahs’ ever-increasing violations of human rights.
Recently, a hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice) leaked videos of Iran’s prisons, some of which revealed abuse, including beatings and other unspeakable treatment of detainees carried out by the Iranian authorities at the notorious Evin Prison, where political prisoners are held. “We will continue to expose the oppression,” that the Iranian government is “inflicting on people,” the group said.
There are reports of slow public hangings-to-death on cranes, amputations of fingers by special guillotines, electric shocks, and rape, in addition to various methods of torture such as flogging, amputation, beating detainees with cables, sticks, rubber hosepipes, knives, batons, punching and kicking and forcing political prisoners into stress positions for a long period of time, and depriving them of water, food and medical care. Navid Afkari, the champion wrestler who was executed last year, wrote in a letter:
“For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures. They would beat me with sticks and batons, hitting my arms, legs, abdomen, and back. They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death. They also poured alcohol into my nose.”
In another instance, a man was tied to a tree in public and flogged 80 times for having drunk alcohol a decade earlier, when he was 14 or 15. An accused thief, who allegedly stole some livestock, saw his hand cut off.
One can also regrettably assume that neither of these men, nor any of the multitudes of others treated in a similar way, was given a fair trial or anything close to a legal defense. According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran:
“Three more human rights attorneys in Iran were handed unjust prison sentences in July 2021 amid an ongoing campaign to eliminate due process for activists and dissidents by intimidating the lawyers who defend them, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned… At least four defense lawyers were imprisoned in the country on trumped-up charges as of August 2021 (Nasrin Sotoudeh, Mohammad Najafi, Soheila Hejab, and Giti Pourfazel), and at least two additional lawyers (Farzaneh Zilabi and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian-Kaseb) were prosecuted on false charges in June 2021.”
Amnesty International, which has analyzed 16 leaked video clips, stated:
“Leaked surveillance footage from Evin prison showing appalling abuse of prisoners serves as a chilling reminder of the impunity granted to prison officials in Iran who subject those in their custody to torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment”.
It came as a surprise, after the videos were leaked, that the Iranian regime actually admitted to the abuse. The head of the regime’s prisons, Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi, acknowledged:
“Regarding the pictures from Evin prison, I accept responsibility for such unacceptable behavior and pledge to try to prevent any repeat of these bitter events and to deal seriously with the wrongdoers. I apologize to God Almighty, our dear leader [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], the nation, and honorable prison guards, whose efforts will not be ignored due to these mistakes.”
It is important crucial to point out, however, that this is not an isolated case of extreme abuse the Iranian regime has been caught red handed in carrying out; this is in fact just small preview. The regime conducts systematic abuse and torture. Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at Amnesty International, pointed out:
“This disturbing footage offers a rare glimpse of the cruelty regularly meted out to prisoners in Iran. It is shocking to see what goes on inside the walls of Evin prison, but sadly the abuse depicted in these leaked video clips is just the tip of the iceberg of Iran’s torture epidemic.”
Children, women and men are routinely tortured during interrogations and behind bars, they are forced to confess, they are denied due process and access to lawyers, medical care, and family visits. According to Amnesty International:
“Away from public view, Iranian security officials routinely subject men, women and children behind bars to torture or other ill-treatment, particularly when undergoing interrogations in detention centres run by the ministry of intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards, and the investigation unit of Iran’s police (Agahi).”
The Iranian regime, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report, has also long been one of the world’s leading executioners,. In 2020 alone, Iran’s regime executed more than 230 people — including individuals who had committed their alleged crimes when they were children. To execute political prisoners, Iran’s judiciary brings up vaguely defined charges, called “national security crimes,” against the defendants. These “crimes” include moharebeh (“enmity against God”), ifsad fil arz (“sowing corruption on earth”), and baghi (“armed rebellion”).
Both the number and the nature of the executions are alarming. From 2020 until March 2021, executions have involved juveniles, women and individuals from ethnic and religious minority groups. Although Iran ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Iranian regime has made no effort to alter the country’s Penal Code, which also allows girls as young as nine to be executed.
The regime, presumably to impose fear among those who criticize and oppose the mullahs, has for decades resorted to punishments of torture and death. Torture is administered both physically and psychologically. According to Amnesty International:
“The organization’s research found that victims were frequently hooded or blindfolded; punched, kicked and flogged; beaten with sticks, rubber hosepipes, knives, batons and cables; suspended or forced into holding painful stress positions for prolonged periods; deprived of sufficient food and potable water; placed in prolonged solitary confinement, sometimes for weeks or even months; and denied medical care for injuries sustained during the protests or as a result of torture.”
The UN, instead of doing its job, appears to have granted the Iranian regime’s leaders full impunity. For how long are the UN, the European Union and the Biden administration going to continue appeasing the mullahs of Iran instead of holding them accountable for their crimes against humanity?
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at [email protected]