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IRAN: Authorities investigated victim instead of rape, opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi says

September 9, 2009 |  8:17 am


Instead of investigating allegations of guards raping detained protesters, Iranian authorities went door to door in one alleged victim's neighborhood trying to dig up dirt about him, one of Iran's leading opposition figures said. 

Barely 24 hours after he spoke to the Los Angeles Times' Ramin Mostaghim on Monday, authorities raided and shut down the prison abuse investigation office of Mehdi Karroubi, an Iranian opposition leader and politician who was profiled in a story published today.

Karroubi enraged Iran's conservative hard-liners when he began to publicly raise the issue of the abuse of detained protesters and dissidents during the recent weeks of unrest. 

Committees formed to investigate and collect information on those allegations came under attack during raids conducted this week. 

During the interview, Karroubi said he had submitted documents and introduced witnesses to a judiciary fact-finding commission. 

But authorities acknowledged only that they had received Karroubi's "remarks," as if he had just spouted off some opinions.

"I have not made 'remarks' about torture and rape cases," he told The Times. "I submitted witnesses and forensic documents."

In one case, rather than investigating the allegations of violence, they went after the victim and his family.

"They created a bad reputation and infamy for the elderly father of a victim," Karroubi said. "Instead of investing discreetly, the investigators went house to house in the neighborhood and asked the neighbors whether the family whose child has been raped was dependable and honest."

State television had recently broadcast a documentary conceding that some protesters swept up in the unrest were abused, especially at the now-notorious Kahrizak detention facility.

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: Mehdi Karroubi, right, speaks with The Times' Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran. Credit: Los Angeles Times