Saturday, June 11, 2011

Iranian Women Tortured and Raped; "Death Was Like A Desire" (PBS)

The sadism and nonchalance are embittering. "Thousands of Iranians took to the streets in 2009 as part of the Green Movement to protest a disputed presidential election. The government crackdown that followed included some women being imprisoned, tortured and raped. This report shares some of their stories. It is a co-production with The Center for Investigative Reporting"
A gut-wrenching series of interviews -- transcript below
I wish the Whole World was Watching.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

This is worth watching in its entirety.

The world remembers the murder of Neda ALga Soltaini, but things just get worse.
(Lybia and Yemen, but ) No help in Iran, where intelligent modern women who want democracy are begging for help.


CORRESPONDENT: She said she was taken to a secret prison.

WOMAN (through translator): When the guard was shaving my hair, he was purposely shaving in a way that would cut my skin very painfully. And he left a little patch of hair in front just to bother me. I wasn't sitting in a chair as he was cutting my hair. He was holding me from behind and rubbing himself against me.

CORRESPONDENT: Next, she was blindfolded and gagged. Then, with her hands tied behind her back, she was dragged into an interrogation room. After being questioned for only a short time, Layla says her interrogator became physical with her.
WOMAN (through translator): I was scared to death. The first thing he did was lick my face with his tongue. Then, he started touching my bra and all over my body. I was crying, "Please, please don't. I am innocent. I'm a virgin."
He said, "No, you are not a virgin anymore."

Then he raped me. After he raped me, he urinated on me, on my whole body.
CORRESPONDENT: Layla said her torture didn't end there.

WOMAN (through translator): Then I heard the sound of the whip in the air, and then felt it on my body. Then he untied my hands and he started caressing my arm like a lover. I felt something burning me just for a second. I screamed and he slapped me. He put out his cigarette on my left hand.
He put out another cigarette on my knee. I was still lost in the first and second pain when I felt another cigarette on my chest, another cigarette on back of my feet, another, another, and another, a pack of 20 cigarettes put out on my body.
CORRESPONDENT: Layla showed me the scars from the cigarette burns, but was too afraid to let them be filmed.
As the protests continued in the streets of Tehran, Layla continued to be brutalized in the secret prison for nearly two months.

WOMAN (through translator): I don't know how many times a day I was raped. It wasn't just one person. There were different people. The whole time I was there, I was telling myself, be strong, be calm. The end of this is death, and death will only take a moment.

Death was like a desire for me. I wanted to die.
CORRESPONDENT: Layla was released on several hundred thousand dollars bail, a price so high, that her parents had to sell the family business. She was never formally charged with a crime, and the secret police continue to monitor her.
Layla was one of several women who have talked with me over the past year, even though all of us can face retribution from the regime for speaking out. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, "Rape was routinely practiced as a matter of policy to intimidate young ordinary people from ever coming out to protest again."

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