The Iranian authorities have used methods of torture including sexual violence against imprisoned children as part of a crackdown on recent protestsaccording to rights group Amnesty International.
“Iranian intelligence and security forces have committed horrific acts of torture, including beatings, whippings, electric shocks, rape and other sexual violence against child protesters from the age of 12 years to suppress their involvement in nationwide protests,” Amnesty said on Thursday.
A report by the group revealed “the methods of torture that the Revolutionary Guards, Basij paramilitaries, public security police and other security and intelligence forces have used against boys and girls in detention for to punish and humiliate them and to extract forced “confessions” from them. ”
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said “Iran’s violence against children reveals a deliberate strategy to crush the vibrant spirit of Iran’s youth. country and prevent them from claiming freedom and human rights”.
Amnesty “obtained testimonies from the victims and their families, as well as other testimonies about the widespread commission of torture against dozens of children from 19 eyewitnesses, including two lawyers and 17 adult detainees who were detained with children” , the human rights group said.
The protests were first sparked by the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini, 22, who died on September 16, 2022, after being detained by the country’s vice squad.
According to Amnesty, Iran admitted to detaining more than 22,000 people during the protests, but did not say how many of them were children. The group estimates that thousands of children could be among the detainees.
Amnesty also said that “State agents have used rape and other sexual violence, including electric shocks to the genitals, genital touching and threats of rape as a weapon against detained children to break their minds, humiliate them and punish them and/or extract ‘confessions’ from them.”
“Other torture methods reported include flogging, administering electric shocks using stun guns, forcing the administration of unidentified pills and holding children’s heads underwater,” adds Amnesty report.
Amnesty called on Iran to release all children detained for peacefully protesting and urged other countries to “exercise universal jurisdiction over Iranian officials, including those in command or superior responsibility, reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility.” for crimes under international law, including the torture of children. Some protestors.
CNN has reached out to the Iranian government for comment but has yet to receive a response, and the government has yet to publicly comment on the report.
In February, CNN revealed the existence of a vast network of illegal underground prisons, or black sites, in Iran.
The methods of repression and torture applied in this shadowy network appear to be even more gruesome than the usual harsh treatment that arrested protesters can expect in lawful detention sites.
CNN has contacted the Iranian government to comment on the allegations of torture and abuse at these unofficial locations, but has not received a response.