By Mahmoud Hakamian
It is well known that throughout its four decades in power, the Iranian Regime has used torture against its own people, specifically dissidents, but a new report shines a light on just how widespread their torture is and specifically focuses on its use against the Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The Regime has always denied using torture, but the report specifically highlighted how flogging – a sentence so entrenched in the Iranian judicial system that it is handed down for nearly 150 “crimes” in Iran, including political activism by groups like the MEK – is considered a form of torture under international law.
Iran Human Rights Monitor explained that in the first half of 2018, 47 people were sentenced to flogging and six people were flogged.
The report also highlighted how physical and psychological torture is routinely used in interrogations to force “confessions” from prisoners; something that began in the 1980s. The Iranian public, and by extension MEK activists, have little legal protection against such abuse and the Regime is able to torture without consequences for the mullahs.
In the recent MEK-organised protest movement that has swept Iran, hundreds of protesters have been arrested and many have been tortured. This includes labour activist Esmail Bakshi, who spoke out being tortured “to the brink of death” in custody and is now facing charges for publically talking about his ordeal.
But the most notable example of the Regime's torture is probably the 1988 massacre, where 30,000 political prisoners, mainly MEK members, were executed in just a matter of weeks. Before execution, a great deal of the MEK members were tortured and sexually assaulted by the Regime to recant their political views – we know this from survivors, mainly those “lucky” enough to have been so badly injured from the torture that they were in the infirmary on the day they were supposed to go to the gallows.
Amnesty International recently said in their report of the 1988 Massacre of MEK members that the Regime is “continuing to commit crimes against humanity” by concealing the fate and whereabouts of the MEK.
Not much has changed since.
Many students held following a wave of student protests in the early 2000s have reported being tortured and abused by Regime agents while in custody.
Many MEK activists and students were arrested for protesting the contested elections in 2009 and they reported being raped, sexually abused, and physically and psychologically tortured at the Kahrizak Detention Centre. At least five people died.
The rise of technology has even allowed many inmates to blog about their experiences inside Iran's prisons, which show that the Regime is moving towards psychological torture methods, like solitary confinement and harassing prisoners’ families. They’ve also increasingly denied medical treatment and sexually assaulted prisoners. When prisoners die under torture, as happened during the 2018 MEK-organised protests, the Regime dresses the up as suicides, with no evidence to support that idea.
The Iranian people are increasingly standing up against the Regime’s torture and human rights abuses, so soon they will bring the end of the Regime.