An environmental activist was sexually assaulted and threatened with rape by the Iranian authorities as part of the Islamic state’s brutal crack-down on a popular uprising in 2019, an international human rights tribunal will hear.
Fatemeh Khoshrou was among tens of thousands of ordinary men, women and teenagers who took part in spontaneous demonstrations across Iran in protest at rising cooking gas prices, that became known as ‘Bloody November’.
But the 32-year-old environmentalist was sexually assaulted, threatened with rape and forced to confess on TV that she was an American spy after she was arrested by the fanatical Revolutionary Guards in her home town of Khorramabad.
An estimated 1,500 demonstrators, including 17 teenagers and 400 women, were killed and thousands of others injured in clashes with Iran’s security forces during the uprising.
The tribunal will also hear claims that hospital doctor Ershad Rahmanian was kidnapped, tortured and beaten to death by members of the Revolutionary Guard in another part of the country.
Now their cousin have come to London to tell the world of the heartache of the families that have suffered at the hands of Tehran’s brutal regime at the Iran Atrocities Tribunal.
The tribunal will be the first time the killing and wounding of thousands during the two-month-long protests in 2019 at the orders of leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei and President Ebrahim Raisi, will be investigated as possible crimes against humanity.
In a moving testimony Fatemeh, who has waived her right to anonymity, told MailOnline: ‘The door of my cell opened and five stout men like giants entered the cell. I was completely naked. Those five men started touching my body.
‘I don’t know how long it lasted. For me it was an eternity. I only remember that I screamed and pleaded. I told him [the interrogator]: “I will do whatever you want me to do”.’
The following day Fatemeh was shown a photo of her American fiancé and ordered to trick him into coming to Iran or her parents would suffer.
She said: ‘They asked me to make a confession in front of the cameras. They told me to say that I was the US had sent me to create disturbances in Iran and given me money to bring people on to the streets.
‘I said everything they wanted in front of the camera. I didn’t do it willingly. I did it under duress. I accepted to make this forced confession as I was afraid that those men might rape me.’
Fatemeh, who had been living in Turkey with her American fiancé, had only come back to Iran to visit her family and attend a hospital appointment, when the protests broke out.
She explained: ‘One week before the demonstrations I returned to Iran to visit my mother and to follow up a medical procedure.
‘I heard noises coming from the street because our house is located close to the main square of the city. I knew that the demonstrations may occur due to the hike in the price of cooking gas. For that reason I went out of the house.’
Fatemeh told how the crowd grew from hundreds to thousands and marched to the government offices chanting anti-regime slogans.
But before the demonstrators could air their grievances they were surrounded by armed plain-clothed members of the feared Republican Guard and she was arrested. She spent the next three and a half months in jail as a political prisoner in terrible conditions.
Following her forced confession Fatemeh remained locked up until she went on hunger strike and was only freed when she agreed to work for the Iranian secret service as a spy.
Once released she returned to Turkey where she told her fiancé, who works for the US Armed Forces, what had happened and he contacted the US Embassy.
Fatemeh refused to work for the Iranian state and the Revolutionary Guard continue to threaten her and her parents.
Another victim of Tehran’s brutal crackdown on Bloody November protesters was Ershad Rahmanian, a doctor who had recently qualified as a hospital anesthetist.
Ershad, 23, from Marivan, was returning home after taking his mother to hospital a week after he took part spontaneous demonstrations when he disappeared.
His battered body, riddled with marks of torture, was discovered in a river three weeks later.
Despite initially admitting to orchestrating Ershad’s arrest the feared Revolutionary Guard denied any involvement in his death and tried to force his devastated family to claim the doctor had committed suicide.
Now his cousin Kamyar Ahmadi has come to London to tell the Iran Atrocities Tribunal the truth.
Mr Ahmadi told MailOnline: ‘When Ershad’s body was found it was clear that the wrists were tied. From the blue spots on his face and under his eyes and the cut in his eyebrows it was clear that he had been tortured. His shirt was entirely blood-soaked. His face was bruised and deformed.
‘Ershad’s brother who saw the body say that his skull was broken and that there was a hole in it. His cousin told me it was likely from a bullet.
‘However on the death certificate the cause of death reads ‘being investigated’.
‘After Ershad’s body was found the Revolutionary Guards took his father to the Ministry of Intelligence.
‘They told him to say that Ershad had mental health issues and had committed suicide.
‘His family refused. They are sure that he was arrested and did not cooperate with them and they killed him under torture.’
Mr Ahmadi explained how during their frantic search for the Ershad his parents were twice told he had been arrested and was being held by Revolutionary Guards.
He told MailOnline: ‘When Ershad did not come home his family searched for him in many places – the police, the hospital, the security services. They even visited the Imam.
‘During this period to phone were made to Ershad’s parents telling them that their son was in detention at the Ministry of Intelligence.’
He added: ‘On the day of Ershad’s burial security agents threatened his family and told them not to speak to the media.
‘Over the past year Ershad’s father has been arrested five or six times and asked why the family speaks to the media.
‘All of the interviews have been given by me. The family has done nothing.’
The Iran Atrocities Tribunal, which opens tomorrow [10 November] at Church House, Westminster, is chaired by leading human rights lawyer Wayne Jordash QC.
He said: ‘The Iran Atrocities Tribunal is an international people’s tribunal for the investigation of crimes against humanity and gross violation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding alleged atrocities that took place in November 2019 during nationwide protests.
‘To date, the Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to investigate its own responsibility, or the responsibility of its own security forces, or otherwise facilitate any independent international adjudication for any of this violence or alleged crimes.
‘The Iran Atrocities Tribunal consists of independent and impartial jurists who will investigate these events to reveal the truth and to determine where the responsibility lies in light of general principles of law and human conscience with the aim of ending impunity for any international crimes and seeking redress for the victims.’
Source » dailymail