Anonymous Basiji describes prison rape in Iran
A man alleged to be an active member of Iran's brutal Basiji militia spoke to a reporter about his role in suppressing the recent street protests and about earlier abuses of prisoners. The Basij's most explosive claim is that he raped Iranian virgins in order to facilitate their executions:
In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."
"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," he said.
Why the regret, if the marriages were "legal?"
"Because," he went on, "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. [Jerusalem Post]
I tend to be skeptical of the claims of anonymous sources, on general principle, particularly when they're making such politically charged allegations. Does anyone know how plausible the militiaman's claims are? Is it really legal in Iran to force prisoners into marriage, and marital rape, in order to make them eligible for execution?
Something about the story seems off to me, like it's all too perfectly horrifying--it's not just prison rape, but raping virgins under the color of law in order to kill them. It seems like a story calculated to push all of our emotional buttons and lay the blame directly at the feet of the regime.
Make no mistake, pro-democracy activists are being raped in prison in Iran. Independent reports attest to these atrocities.
There's no question that Iran has a terrible human rights record and a penchant for executions. So did Iraq under Saddam Hussein. But the true stories of mass graves and poison gas weren't enough for the pro-war lobby group that fabricated a story about Iraqi troops ripping Kuwaiti infants out of their incubators.