Iranians light candles for victims of Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 as they protest in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran, 11 January 2020. (EPA-EFE)

January 20, 2020

Amnesty International has received “shocking reports” about sexual assault of a woman, recently detained in Iran for participating in protests following the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane near the capital city, Tehran.

Thousands of Iranians protested January 11-13 after the military belatedly admitted it had shot down the airliner “by mistake”. Security forces confronted the demonstrators with force and arrested dozens.

Amnesty International says one of the detainees was a woman, who was taken to a police station and sexually assaulted by a security agent.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Iran, Raha Bahreini, says the victim is still in shock and deeply troubled.

“Amnesty International has received appalling reports of a sexual assault on a woman arrested for participating in recent protests in Iran,” Ms. Bahreini disclosed, adding, “An informed source told Amnesty International that the plainclothesmen detained the woman and took her to a police station in Tehran. There, one of the intelligence agents forced the detainee to perform oral sex, and then tried to rape her.”

Citing Amnesty International’s “informed source,” Ms. Bahreini reiterated that the woman is still profoundly shocked and highly disturbed.

“She has not yet decided whether to file a lawsuit against the culprit and the security forces” Bahreini says, noting, “The Islamic Republic security forces and judiciary officials enjoy immunity to the extent that suing them seems useless.

Bahreini also says over the years AI has received several reports on women and men detainees being sexually harassed in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Such reports were quite rife during the widespread uprising against the official outcome of the controversial presidential election in 2009, Bahreini reveals.

Unfortunately, verifying such reports is quite tricky since it needs relevant medical documents that AI has no access to. Furthermore, it needs field investigations that are not allowed by the Islamic Republic authorities, Ms. Bahreini insists.

In the meantime, she says that the international law counts sexual harassment of the detainees as a manifestation of torture.

Radio Farda

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.