Kurdistan Human Rights Network: Iranian security and military authorities have resorted to widespread suppression, violence against civilians, torture, murder and even sexually abusing children.
following the November protests shook several Iranian cities. According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network’s (KHRN) investigation, more than a thousand civilians have been arrested in the Kurdish cities alone and the fate of some of them still remains unclear.
The KHRN has interviewed a number of eyewitnesses and informed sources in the cities of Kermanshah, Marivan, Javanrood, Sanandaj, Bukan and Ilam who confirmed the use of violence perpetrated by the Iranian security forces in Kurdistan. The following report addresses the results of such investigation in Marivan.
“The KHRN has obtained documented evidence during its investigations regarding the high level of violence exerted by the security forces with the detainees in different cities of Kurdistan,” said Kaveh Kermanshahi, a spokesperson for the KHRN.
According to Kermanshahi, some of the released detainees have reported long-term detention in small solitary confinement cells, the imposition of long-term hunger, restricted access to health care facilities, and the lack of medical treatment for detainees injured during protests.
“During this period we received numerous reports, the accuracy of which has been confirmed by our reliable sources in the cities of Kurdistan. Reports indicate that the detainees were subjected to widespread and severe physical torture at the security and police detention facilities,” said Kermanshahi, adding that “at least one young man in Marivan has lost his life.”
“We have also received reports of sexual harassment and even child molestation in detention centres. Our investigations still continue, however, the sexual harassment including the threat of rape against three male students detained during the November protests in Marivan has been proven to the same extent. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has not disclosed the names of these students. The KHRN has not revealed the name of these children for security reasons,” added Kaveh Kermanshahi.
According to two reliable sources in Marivan, many children under the age of 18 were detained during the protests in the city of Marivan on 16 and 17 November and taken to the detention centre of the IRGC near the Sepahan Square of Marivan. Hundreds of other detainees were also subjected to severe physical and psychological torture for several days.
Marivan security interrogators led by security officer Haji Meysam threatened to “rape” at least three male students with tools such as batons. The three male students were released on bail after several days. Meanwhile, the security investigators have threatened them not to discuss the issue of physical torture and sexual abuse with anyone.
The sources further revealed that the families of the students have realized that their children had been subjected to sexual harassment and even “the possibility of rape” as their children are suffering from mental health problems. However, they have refused to file a complaint due to fear of how the IRGC would react. Moreover, these children are reluctant to reveal how they have been treated when detained since they are still in a state of panic after what they have experienced in the hands of security forces.
Severe Physical Torture
One of the protesters, who had been detained for several days and is now suffering from mental disorders due to being tortured, has spoken about his experience.
“After being arrested, our heads were covered by black bin bags and we were transported into a Peugeot 405. Then, we were taken to an unknown location and kept in small rooms of 50cm by 50cm. I could hear other detainees being tortured. The room was so small that we couldn’t stretch our legs. They kept us hungry for a long time and did not even give us a slice of bread,” the protesters said.
“At night, we were taken out of the cells to the detention facility and forced to take our clothes off. Then, cold water was sprayed on us and we were beaten up,” he added.
He also uncovered that some of the detained children were unconscious, and he did not know where these children were transferred to and whether they survived or not.
“On 16, 17 and 18, November the IRGC forces took a fire engine to the IRGC and used its hose to spray cold water on detainees at night after they had been naked. Then, they beat up the detainees through the night,” two other witnesses in Marivan also reaffirmed the KHRN.
According to the findings of the KHRN, most detainees have been released on bail, but the fate of some of them still remains unclear. Some of the civilians were injured while detained.
Torture of detainees was not confined to the detention centre of the IRGC, and the detainees held at the detention centre of Intelligence Bureau and Police stations were also tortured.
Aras Bafkari, a 16-year-old resident of Marivan, was one of the children arrested during the protests on 16 November. He was severely beaten for five days in a police station in Marivan for allegedly “breaking the head of the director of one of the city’s police departments.”
Another citizen, Sahib Asadi, was taken to the detention centre after being detained and severely beaten by officers to the extent that his arms and legs were broken in several parts. The 24-year-old civilian was released on bail after five days, but the forensic doctor has refused to visit him who is now waiting until his full recovery to file a complaint against the officers.
Detainees Died Under Torture
The KHRN has so far been able to confirm the death of 24-year-old civilian Ershad Rahmanian as a result of torture following his arrest. The body of this Kurdish civilian was found in Marivan’s Garan dam on December 15, while his arm, legs and some of his teeth were broken under torture.
The exact date of his disappearance is unknown as his family is reluctant to disclose any details due to pressure and threats coming from the security forces. However, based on the KHRN’s interview with informed sources, his detention is likely to have taken place on either 16 or 26 November. He was last seen during at one of the ITMs near the Marwan Molavi Mosque.
Despite the repeated enquiries of the Rahmanian family made to court and security agencies in Marivan, no information was received on the fate of this detainee. A government source had announced his transfer to Sanandaj Central Prison, but the authorities of this prison said had not heard of such a person. The story ended when the dead body of this detainee was found in Garan Dam.
Photos have been sent to KHRN, which may be related to the removal of his body from the Garan dam. Marivan Forensics has so far not officially announced what the cause of death was.