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Web Publicizes Torture of Iranian Protesters

Opposition Web sites are reporting on the torture and even death of hundreds of Iranian protesters arrested after last month’s election. According to the New York Times (which called the following ‘abuse’ – apparently they don’t call anything torture anymore):

Some prisoners say they watched fellow detainees being beaten to
death by guards in overcrowded, stinking holding pens. Others say they had their fingernails ripped off or were forced to lick filthy toilet bowls.

The accounts of prison abuse in Iran’s postelection crackdown — relayed by relatives and on opposition Web sites — have set off growing outrage among Iranians, including some prominent conservatives. More bruised corpses have been returned to families in recent days, and some hospital officials have told human rights workers that they have seen evidence that well over 100 protesters have died since the vote.

Rooz online and have served as platforms where relatives have come forward to describe the return of bruised bodies by the government and testimonials by those held at the Kahrizak prison, which Global Voices reported yesterday was shut down by the government. The government also released 140 prisoners as another conciliatory gesture, but the revelations have the potential to foment further outrage in the opposition movement, as well as within conservative circles since the son of a key adviser to conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai was beaten to death in prison.

The Times relayed a number of postings from previously detained protesters that were posted online:

“We were all standing so close to each other that no one could move,” he wrote in a narrative posted online. “The plainclothes guards came into the room and broke all the light bulbs, and in the pitch dark started beating us, whoever they could.” By morning, at least four detainees were dead, he added.

In another account posted online, a former detainee describes being made to lie facedown on the floor of a police station bathroom, where an officer would step on his neck and force him to lick the toilet bowl as the officer cursed reformist politicians.

A woman described having her hair pulled as interrogators demanded that she confess to having sex with political figures. When she was finally released, she was forced — like many others — to sign a paper saying she had never been mistreated.

While the government has rejected the application of the opposition to publicly mourn the death of Neda that I wrote about yesterday, Mousavi apparently wants to go forward with it anyway, saying in response to the torture and death of protesters in detention:

They cannot turn this nation into a prison of 70 million people….The more people they arrest, the more widespread the movement will become.

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