By Dherar Belhoul Alfalasi
February 1, 2016
We're talking of Iran, which is not
different from Daesh, the terrorist organization. The only difference is that
while the world unites to fight Daesh, the same world is ignoring Iran's
monumental atrocities. One good example is how this country treats its own
If you think Daesh is the worst terrorist
organization in using faith to justify its devious crimes, then you may need to
reconsider. And if you think North Korea has the worst record in mistreating
prisoners and for weird methods of execution, then you definitely need to
update your information.
There is one country with which Western
countries are competing to normalize their diplomatic and commercial ties,
while ignoring the fact it boasts both the worst record of misusing faith to
justify crimes and tyranny, and the largest record of prisoner abuse and death
sentences per capita.
We're talking of Iran, which is not different
from Daesh, the terrorist organization. The only difference is that while the
world unites to fight Daesh, the same world is ignoring Iran's monumental
atrocities. One good example is how this country treats its own prisoners.
Last year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the
Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed bluntly announced that 85
per cent of female and 35 per cent male prisoners are ''routinely raped in
Iranian prisons''. According to him, "torture in Iran has become steadily
systematic, officially sponsored and wide-spread".
Shaheed's statement confirmed what former
presidential candidate Mahdi Karroubi previously said in an open letter to
former president Hashmi Rafsanjani about thousands of his supporters who were
reportedly raped in prison in the aftermath of 2009 pro-reform protests.
The Iranian regime uses religion as cover
for its shameful crimes. Back in the 1980s, Ayatullah Mesbah Yazdiwas,
allegedly issued death Fatwas against anyone who disagreed with his evil
Prison guards, police detectives and
members of the Revolutionary Guard allegedly ‘sexually abuse and even rape
their prisoners and suspects''. This includes men, women and children,
according to some accounts.
The Revolutionary Guards allegedly offer
female prisoners as 'sexual rewards' to its members upon completion of their
tasks. Another shocking practice in Iranian prisons is to force inmates to
watch the execution of fellow inmates. In addition, there have been several
cases in which the inmates were forced to ''watch other inmates being raped by
detectives or guards'', according to some accounts.
Furthermore, Iran has a long record of
raping and executing children. Execution of children and underage prisoners by
itself is a violation of international law, leave aside torture and rape.
Only last November, the UN condemned the
execution of two teenage prisoners for charges that were never proven. Suspects
are routinely denied basic rights such as the presence of a lawyer. Some trials
that ended with a death sentence took less than five minutes to reach a
To understand the logic behind this
behaviour, we need to be reminded that the majority of such victims come from
ethnic or religious minorities and are mostly rights activists. While ethnic
and religious humiliation is behind the savage torture of those activists,
members of Persian opposition groups such as the secular People's Mojahedin
Organization and those who supported the 2009 presidential candidates were
crushed by the regime.
Several international organizations that
monitor human rights violations in Iran have also reported another concerning
practice. Iranian authorities often foist charges to justify their inhuman
measures against inmates. Underage prisoners are often executed on allegations
of drug trafficking.
In fact, this underage issue is a matter of
big concern. Male teens are considered adults and legally responsible at the
age of 15; three years before teens in other countries. A female, on the other
hand, is considered mature and legally responsible at the age of only nine. In
many cases, girls that young were forced to marry elderly men who would die for
one reason or another, and the poor girl gets herself a death sentence without
even realizing what happened!
Last year alone, Iran executed 1084 people;
a large percentage of whom were women and children. Many sources believe the
actual number may be double that figure because some executions go unreported
as the regime controls all media.
With all these documented atrocities, a
legitimate question arises: is it right to reward such a regime by lifting
international sanctions or should we treat it like Daesh?
Dherar Belhoul Alfalasi is an Emirati writer