Iran continues to be a nation that exercises strict government control over its citizens' lives. Considering the stories that continue to emerge about the government's horrific treatment of its people, one can barely imagine the elevated horror that exists inside of Iran's infamous prisons.
Following the 2009 anti-government protests, hundreds of opposition activists were detained. Now, these individuals have secretly written letters claiming that prison guards regularly give condoms to violent inmates and urge them to rape the imprisoned dissidents. The Guardian has more:
A series of dramatic letters written by prisoners and families of imprisoned activists allege that authorities are intentionally facilitating mass rape and using it as a form of punishment.
Mehdi Mahmoudian, an outspoken member of Iran's Participation Front, a reformist political party, is among those prisoners who have succeeded in smuggling out letters revealing the extent of rape inside some of the most notorious prisons...
"During exercise periods, the strong ask for sex without any consideration. Criminals are repeatedly seen with condoms in hand, hunting for their victims," an unnamed [activist's] family member told Jaras.
According to victims, some prisoners are taken room to room at night and raped repeatedly. All of this occurs with guards ignoring complaints (and, again, allegedly providing the condoms).
While rape victims typically hide the crime in order to protect the honor of their family in many Middle Eastern nations, the letters that have leaked out offer some of the only information available on the activists' lives following their imprisonment.
In its 2010 report, Amnesty International corroborated these allegations:
Compelling evidence emerged that a number of detainees, both women and men, had been raped and otherwise tortured in detention, but instead of investigating allegations thoroughly, the authorities were quick to deny them and then harassed the victims and closed the offices of a committee collecting victims’ testimonies.
Below, watch Sarah Shourd, the American hiker who was detained in Iran, discuss the abuses she saw in the nation's prison system:
(h/t The Guardian)