By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RLSahamnews, the website of reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi's Etemad Melli party, reports that Mohammad Davari, the jailed chief editor of the website, has been subjected to torture intended to force him to publicly cast doubt on Karrubi's claims about the rape of postelection prisoners.
Karrubi's claims of abuse of prisoners have become an embarrassment to the Iranian establishment
Sahamnews says Davari, who has been in jail for
seven months, is in very poor physical and psychological condition. The website
reports that he's been allowed to meet with his mother briefly in jail only
three times since his arrest.
The website claims the pressure on Davari to make a false statement and question Karrubi is "a new scenario by the ruling establishment" against the opposition leader.
After the postelection crackdown last summer, in which many opposition protesters were jailed, Karrubi said he had received reports from several detainees, including young men, who said they were sexually abused or raped in prison.
The report angered hard-liners, some of whom called for Karrubi's prosecution for libeling the Islamic establishment.
But Karrubi refused to back off, and published on his website an account of the rape of a young man in prison. He also provided the names of four of the rape victims to a parliamentary commission that was investigating the postelection violence.
One of them was identified as 24-year-old student Ebrahim Sharifi, who told RFE/RL's Radio Farda last September that he was forced to leave the country after being threatened and harassed by authorities. (In this interview, Sharifi tells Radio Farda's Mohammad Zarghami about his ordeal.)
Karrubi's son, who was arrested during the anniversary of the 1979 revolution on February 11, was also threatened with rape in a mosque, according to his mother, Fatemeh Karrubi, who wrote an open letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Karrubi, a reformist cleric and defeated presidential candidate, is one of the founding fathers of Iran's Islamic establishment. His allegation of the rape of detainees has become a source of embarrassment for Iranian leaders, who claim they run the country according to Islamic rules and moral standards.
Despite the pressure, Karrubi has stood by his claims, stating on his website that he is not afraid of anything and will continue to stand up for Iranians' rights.
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