Remember the plucky protestors arising in a tide of green after Iran’s 2009 presidential elections? Today I found out that the young men and women arrested in the days and weeks and months since then have been and are being ‘punished’ through rape and torture. And doctors who examine the victims, dead or alive, are being silenced for refusing to lie about it:
Abdolreza Soudbakhsh, a physician and professor at Tehran university, was shot dead by men on a motorcycle as he left his office last September. At the time of his assassination, Iranian officials denied his murder had anything to do with the cases of alleged rape in Kahrizak, a detention centre that Iran used to imprison many of the opposition activists caught up in the protests following the country’s disputed presidential elections.
Many protesters are believed to have been tortured to death in Kahrizak and several have claimed they were raped. But the doctor’s son Behrang Soudbakhsh said in an interview with Fereshteh Ghazi of Roozonline, an opposition website, that his father had indeed examined the rape victims of Kahrizak and was under pressure to remain silent about those who died under torture.
[My father] was told to say that the victims of Kahrizak had Meningitis. He asked to see the dead bodies and when he examined them, he concluded that they had died under torture and not Meningitis,” Behrang Soudbakhsh said.
“Once he said that how could they rape an 18-year-old kid so severely that he died after that? How could they rape the children,” he asked.
The doctor was planning to leave Iran on the night of his assassination, which his son said suggested he was killed to prevent him from revealing more information. Soudbakhsh Sr had given an interview to Deutsche Welle’s Persian network a few weeks before his death, in which he had mentioned rape inside prison.
“They were thinking that my father was going to the US to reveal his information in details in an open society. My father was one of the few experts in Iran who had precise information [on the issue],” Soudbakhsh Jr said. “They killed my father because he didn’t want to lie and he didn’t lie.”
A million miles removed from any physical or political power, I’m going to cling on to the advice that “one of the best ways we can help other people is by praying for them.” For “many seek the favour of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that one gets justice.” (Proverbs 29:26)
So — justice, please!!!