Iran speaker rejects rape claims

August 12, 2009 12:00 am

, TEHRAN, Aug 12 – Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Wednesday rejected claims that some election protesters had been raped in custody and rapped the opposition leader who raised the allegations.

"The issue of detainees being sexually abused is a lie," Larijani told parliament, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Following an investigation of detainees in Kahrizak and Evin prisons, no cases of rape and sexual abuse were found," he said, referring to the jails where most people arrested after the June election were initially detained.

Defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi claimed in a letter to powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that several male and female protesters had been raped in custody and called for an investigation.

"A number of detainees have said that some female detainees have been raped savagely. Young boys held in detention have also been savagely raped," Karroubi said in his letter dated July 29.

About 4,000 opposition supporters were arrested over the unrest that swept Iran after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election, officials said. Most have been released, but around 200 remain behind bars. At least 110 have also been put on trial.

Some protesters are still being held in the capital’s notorious Evin prison, but the authorities have closed Kahrizak jail south of Tehran after an order from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Larijani issued a stern warning directed at Karroubi over the allegations.

"The contents of the letter were shocking and the letter was immediately published by foreign media. Considering the sensitivity of the issue, I asked a parliamentary fact finding panel to investigate," Larijani said.

He also asked Karroubi to submit any evidence or testimony about the rapes for a "serious probe" into the claims.

"This is also a warning to politicians to take care and not to make any claims to the media before a proper investigation is done so that it is not exploited by foreigners."


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