Those who like to consider the worst way to die – for Montaigne, it was to be hanged on piano wire; for Orwell, to be eaten by rats – need not rack their imagination any longer. It was allegedly inflicted on young women in Evin prison and elsewhere in Iran in 1988. First came the death sentence, then, according to some accounts, forced marriage and rape just before being hanged or shot, in order to deny them the fast track to heaven accorded to virgins in the Mullahs’ warped theology. When I investigated these prison massacres some years ago, I heard of this horrific allegation but dismissed it for lack of evidence. But I believe there is good reason to return to them now.

Many thousands of imprisoned oppositionists were killed at this time by order (a fatwa) of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Many were students, sentenced years before for minor political crimes like participating in demonstrations or handing out leaflets. Ebrahim Raisi, now president of Iran, is believed to have sat on a “death committee”, which sentenced them to death without a trial as “mohareb” (enemies of God) for allegiance to groups that opposed the state or its religion. The whole episode reflects the contempt that women still face in Iran, as its vicious morality police have recently demonstrated.

Of course, this was just the worst part of a colossal crime against humanity as many thousands of political prisoners were put to death. Their bodies were allegedly stacked in refrigerated lorries and buried secretly in a mass grave in Tehran’s cemeteries, where even today parents and relatives of the victims are not able to mourn them.

Iran has gone to extraordinary lengths to cover up the crime. When some news of it leaked at the time, a naïve international agency rapporteur was welcomed to Evin with a brass band, where schooled prisoners pretended they were well-treated. It was only years later, with the publication of the diaries of a senior Mullah who reprimanded the death committee during their work at Evin, that the truth began to come out, but not about the fate of the women who were allegedly raped before execution. The diaries also included a copy of the merciless fatwa issued by the Ayatollah in fury at having to sign a truce in the war with Iraq.

There is little prospect of bringing the perpetrators to justice while the Mullahs, whose cruel sexist beliefs contributed to the insupportable treatment of the female prisoners, remain in power. One perpetrator who ventured overseas was caught in Sweden and last year sentenced to life imprisonment. No doubt the Iranians are looking for a Swede they can falsely accuse of espionage in order to swap for him. Belgium recently succumbed to Iranian blackmail and freed a diplomat sentenced to 20 years for planning a thwarted bomb attack against an exiled Iranian opposition group. He was swapped for a Belgian aid worker, sentenced in Iran for “espionage”.

Given the impunity of the Mullahs, the best that can be done is to expose the extent of their crimes as an indication of the barbarity of which their government is capable – if, for example, they possess a nuclear bomb. We know how Hitler had the Stauffenberg plotters hanged with piano wire and how he gloated over a film of their death agonies. We did not know, until recently, how a depraved regime put hundreds of young women to the worst of deaths.

Source » telegraph