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Prominent Thinker Abdolkarim Soroush says Iran Tortured His Son-In-Law

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Abdolkarim Soroush, a prominent thinker and Islamic scholar now living in the United States, has blasted Iranian officials over what he describes as the physical and psychological torture of his son-in-law.

Abdolkarim Soroush was named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine.

In a letter posted on his website, Soroush said his son-in-law, Hamed, was arrested in Iran and tortured to say in a televised interview that his wife, Soroush's daughter, is a "slut" and that Soroush is an enemy of Islam with ties to foreigners.

Soroush said Iranian authorities have been harassing his son-in-law for 10 months. His daughter, Kimia Soroush, and son-in-law are now out of Iran.

"The zoo of Velayat Faghih needed more prey," Soroush wrote. In the past Soroush has also criticized Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and accused him of human rights abuses.

Soroush said when his son-in-law refused to cooperate with the authorities, they tortured him in order to break him.

"One night until the morning they terrorized him and made him shiver while [keeping him] naked in a [walk-in freezer] ... "

He said his son-in-law is still suffering from nightmares.

Soroush said the Iranian authorities consider "killing" and "rape" as their duty while justifying it through religion. "That makes them even more dangerous."

Soroush said when he tried to console his son-in-law and told him God would not forgive [his torturers], the son-in-law responded, "Don't mention the name of God. There is no God. There is no God."

Other dissidents and activists have also said Iranian officials have harassed their family members to pressure them or discredit them.

Last year Iranian authorities reportedly harassed the husband of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi and forced him to speak against his wife in an interview with state-controlled television.

These methods often have the opposite effect, resulting in condemnation by activists and intellectuals who believe the Iranian regime is only further discrediting itself.

Copyright (c) 2011 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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