Prominent Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi, who is serving a long-term sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison, says the inmates there are being subjected to “sexual assaults and physical torture.”
Mohammadi published a letter on her Instagram page on March 2 to reject claims made by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian minimizing the extend of the Islamic Republic’s brutal crackdown on mainly peaceful protests that have swept Iran for more than five months.
In an interview with CNN, Amir-Abdollahian rejected widespread evidence that security forces had used rape to quell the anti-government protests as “unfounded.”
He also claimed that no one has been arrested during peaceful rallies and that all those detained, except murderers, were later released.
"I can tell you this in full confidence that our police and the security forces in Iran have not killed anyone with bullets or any other means in these riots," the minister also said.
Contrary to his claims, the authorities have cracked down hard on the demonstrations triggered by the September death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police.
Human rights activists say security forces have killed more than 520 people and illegally detained over 19,000 in connection with the protests.
Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences to protesters, including capital punishment, mostly on non-murder charges. At least four young men have been executed so far amid international outrage.
"It happened in front of the eyes of the world, but the government recklessly lies even at the headquarters of the United Nations to deceive the public opinion of the world," Mohammadi said in her letter, adding that the Islamic Republic is based on “repression, lies and deception.”
"During the past few months, the detainees have been brought to the women's ward of Evin Prison and have been subjected to physical, sexual assault and physical torture, and we have witnessed the physical effects left on them," she added.
The activist cited the case of poet and writer Mahvash Shahriari, a member of the country’s persecuted Baha'i religious minority who has been rearrested without any reason after spending 10 years in prison.
Mohammadi released her letter as a UN fact-finding mission called on individuals, groups and organizations to submit information and documentation on human rights abuses committed by Iranian security forces in their clampdown on the demonstrations.
Mohammadi said she was willing to testify as a witness about “physical sexual assaults and physical torture” in custody.
Mohammadi has long been a vocal critic of the repressive government policies and human rights violations in Iran. She has previously published open letters addressed to human rights and international institutions informing them of the situation in the country.