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Abuse, torture, rape – and exile

Abuse, torture, rape – and exile

Critics of the Iranian regime are enduring torture and enforced exile. Trends magazine examines how even old family ties and privilege offer no protection.

January 20, 2010 4:36 by

“In Iran there’s freedom of expression, but there’s not freedom after expression,” Mehtari says. A member of the Mojahedin Party which represents Iran’s Islamic left, he worked within regime circles, securing commissions to design Web sites (including that of the Jamkaran Mosque, a Shi’a pilgrimage site outside Qom, whose restoration is a pet project of the Ahmadinejad administration) and socializing with the great and the good of the Islamic Republic’s reformist wing.

Pictures on his Facebook profile depict him alongside former president Mohammad Khatami. For members of the inner circles of the Islamic Republic, the reality of the state’s abuses – carried out by men just as bearded and devout as their brothers and uncles – is even harder to swallow.

Mehtari remains horrified that his interrogator was an observant Muslim – fasting all day and only lighting up the cigarettes he would stub out on his charge’s skin and scalp after sundown.

“I am always surprised by the genuine shock of victims who cannot understand how police goons behind bars can behave so horribly toward them, citing the very ideology of the Islamic Revolution,” says Wayne White, the former deputy director of the Bureau of Intelligence at the American State Department. “Such a sick slice of the general population dwells in the lower depths of practically any society. Many are behind bars, but many others are not.”

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