Rape in the Mullahs’ Prisons
Since the inception of the Islamic regime in Iran in 1979, rapes of political prisoners have increasingly been committed, although rarely reported. Many courageous victims have recently revealed their subjection to rapes. Surprisingly, however, after the controversial June 2009 election, the losing candidate Mehdi Karrubi revealed that people detained during the post-election protests, both male and female, have been systematically subjected to vicious rapes.
After the conquest of ancient Persia by the Arab Muslims in 644, tens of thousands, probably, millions of Iranian females were raped, enslaved, and transported away as war-booty to be sold in slave-markets of Arab-Islamic territories. The Persian word ‘Tajovoz’ does not only mean ‘rape’ by which a man seized or stole a wife, but also means destruction and occupation of one’s environment by invaders. In a belief system in which a passive nine-year-old girl may be raped by her ‘husband’, rape, as an extension of such a patriarchal societal control over females, was introduced by the Arab Muslims as the most hideous, shameful, and submissive element in the culture of occupied Iran. Since the occupation by Arab Muslims, Iranian women, who once equated with their male compatriots, have been since viewed as male possessions, first of their fathers, then of their husbands. In case of rape in Islamised Persia, they were subjected to blame and shame more than their rapists.
Shortly after the 1979 revolution, many intellectuals, political activists, and sympathisers of the leftist opposition were arrested, and many of them were summarily executed. Virgin prisoners were generally raped before being executed. The reason is that according to the Islamic regime’s interpretation of Islamic laws, killing of a virgin woman is prohibited, because a virgin’s soul goes to Heaven, not to Hell, after death. To solve the dilemma, the night before the execution, the virgin is married by one of the guards, and the marriage is consummated overnight, before the execution is carried out. Apart from such rape, the interrogators of the Mullah regime routinely use rape as a tool of torture to obtain information, confession, or, simply, to humiliate the prisoner.
The rape of a male victim typically consists of forced penetration of the anus by a penis or other object as has been reported by some Iranian rape-victims. Because of traditional self-censorship, male-rape has until recently remained unreported in Iran. It is believed that a man in a patriarchal culture should be masculine, strong and able to protect himself. Therefore, nothing can be worse, more shameful, for a proud man than being forcibly raped. Young men, who have survived the post-election rapes, are now suffering from rigorous psychological injuries. Rape of male prisoners in the Mullahs’ jails has caused serious damage to inner organs of the victims and depression to them. Since male victims feel shame to identify themselves, they avoid medical treatment unless the victim is seriously injured.
It is believed that religious permission of rape, including male-rape, of ‘opponents of the Islamic regime’ has been recently given by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the monitor and spiritual guru of president Ahmadinejad. Islamic authorities usually deny that rape is being committed in their prisons, fearing strong reaction from the public, both inside and outside.
In an interview at the Jamkaran gathering after the revelation of rape in the Mullah’s prisons, Mesbah Yazdi was asked: “Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?” He answered: “The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it’s acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed.”
Zahra Bani Yaghoub, Azar Al Cana’an, and Roya Toloui are among the female prisoners who were raped and murdered in past years under the same Islamic regime. Additionally, at least two recent teenage female victims of the post-election oppression in Iran, Tahmineh Mousavi and Saeedeh Pour Agha’i, were documented by the media as being burnt in an attempt to cover up the hideous crime.
To shed light on Mesbakh Yazdi’s permission of rape, it is believed that in numerous offensive raids, called ‘Ghazawat’, early Muslims, under the Prophet, attacked ‘infidel’ tribes; they killed men, robbed their properties, and took whichever females they wanted, raped them, and then brought them to their tribe as their slave-possessions. Tolerance of such brutalities in Islam may not be universally believed by Muslims and might be regarded as myth. However, these are the mindsets of the brutal Islamic regime that rules Iran and commits such horrendous crimes.
In an ultimate psychological analysis of rape, rapists seem to come from a subculture of violence, whose values may be different from those of the mainstream. A rapist is often a poorly educated man from the lower socioeconomic strata, who had a criminal record. Therefore such a man may be demonstrating his toughness and masculinity in a more violent and antisocial manner, but in the case of a rapist of the Mullahs’ prisons, this is not the dominant factor.
Rapists of the Mullahs’ prisons are not necessarily the psychopathic and antisocial torturers, but most likely ‘pious’ Muslims, married men, and even kind fathers. They just follow the ‘divine’ guidance of the Islamic regime, and do not consider those rapes as crimes, and do not feel remorse after the assault. These sexual ‘offenders’ are not accountable for their sexual assaults, because rape is allowed or tolerated by Islamic clerics of the regime.
Rape in the Mullahs’ prisons is not an individual decision of an interrogator, as one may commonly believe; it is a systematic process based on a belief system, and for promoting a political agenda. In the Mullahs’ prisons, rapes are often planned. The primary motive for rape is not sexual. They regard and believe in rape as a routine duty, due to its prescription by Islamic clerics of high stature like Ayatollah Mesbakh Yazdi, and its acceptance by the entire Mullah regime. With that in mind, their act of rape is not merely a question of psycho-criminality, but a justified crime.