LONDON: Women detained by Iranian security forces amid anti-government protests in the country are facing sexual and physical assault in prisons, a human rights activist has told the BBC.
Narges Mohammadi, deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, is serving a long jail sentence in Iran’s Evin prison.
She wrote a letter to the BBC detailing physical and sexual abuse of women detainees who were arrested following protests around the country, which began in September following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
Mohammadi said that one prominent woman activist had her limbs tied to a hook inside the vehicle transporting her to Evin prison. Once the activist was transferred, she was sexually assaulted by prison officers, resulting in bruising and scarring across her body.
A woman protester who was arrested also faced sexual assault while being transferred to prison on a motorcycle with two security officers, Mohammadi added.
The activist said: “Not revealing these crimes would contribute to the continuation of application of (these) repressive methods against women.
“Therefore, it seems that the assault on women activists, fighters and protesters in Iran should be widely and powerfully reported at the global level.
“In the absence of powerful independent civil organizations, the attention and support of the media and international human rights organizations and global public opinion (are) essential.”
In her letter to the BBC, Mohammadi hailed Iran’s “brave, resilient, lively and hopeful” women, adding: “Victory means establishing democracy, peace and human rights and ending tyranny.
“We will not back down.”
Iran state media has denied that authorities have sexually assaulted women protesters, claiming that all-female staff are responsible for overseeing women’s prison wards.