June 13, 2013 | In anticipation of the June 14 presidential election Justice for Iran (JFI) held an international symposium to mark the completion of a project documenting more than three decades of cases involving sexual torture of women.
The symposium held in London on Saturday 8 June entitled “When Sleeping Women Wake, Mountains Move“, featured talks by prominent human rights advocates and victims of genocide, mass murder, rape and sexual torture in Rwanda, the Sudan and Iran. In this light, JFI presented its policy brief “Raped out of Paradise: Women in Prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran” based on its two-volume report “Crime and Impunity: Sexual Torture of Women in Islamic Republic Prisons” detailing torture and sexual violence against women in Iran since 1979.Keynote speaker, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, provided statistics on the violation of women’s rights, including the widespread use of mental and sexual torture, and noted the absence of Iranian women in the top echelons of the national political system, including the presidential election. He discussed abuse, especially against women’s rights activists, by referring to the existence of harassment, arrest, torture, and ban from foreign travel. Furthermore, Dr. Shaheed noted the importance of JFI’s efforts in documenting the abuses against women in Iran with the aim of including such information in future truth commissions or tribunals.
In her closing statement, Shadi Sadr, the director of JFI project, refers to a long list of Islamic Republic authorities implicated in the torture of Iranian women and serious human rights violations. She states, “JFI continues to expand its database and stands ready to provide its latest documentation on selected perpetrators of human rights violations in order to combat the culture of impunity prevalent among Islamic Republic officials and organizations.“ Her statement includes some of the officials among this year’s presidential candidates:
– Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Former IRGC and Islamic Republic Police Force
(NAJA) official who publicly admitted to his role in repression of
student protests in 1999, 2003 and the protests following the 2009
– Aliakbar Velayati, Former Foreign Minister, allegedlyy accused by German
prosecutors of involvement in assassination of Kurdish leaders in Berlin
in 1992, also implicated in deadly attack at AMIA Jewish Cultural Centre
in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1994.
– Hassan Rouhani, Member of the National Security Council responsible for
the repression of June 1999 students’ movement
– Mohsen Rezaie, Former Commander of IRGC, who according to witness
statements given to JFI was directly involved in human rights violations
committed in prisons in the Kurdish region of Iran, including mental
torture as a means of forcing a pregnant woman to marry a guard, also
allegedly involved with the AMIA Jewish centre bombing.
Following the release of reports about the June 8th symposium, on the eve of the presidential election in Iran, the Islamic Republic’s “Unknown Cyber Jihad” hacked JFI’s website.
Artwork by Leila Barbaro based on JFI Crime and Impunity report featuring testimony of survivors who found out about the rape of their daughter by reading the writing on the sole of her foot stating: “They raped me”