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Source: IranWire

Jun 2, 2023

Activist Exposes “Inhumane” Rectal, Vaginal Searches In Iran Jails

BY SAMANEH GHADARKHAN


Numerous reports continue to emerge of women being subjected to horrid treatment in Iran's detention centers, including acts of torture, sexual abuse and humiliation.


A children’s rights activist in the north-western city of Tabriz told IranWire that many detained women have been compelled to expose their naked bodies in front of cameras, without knowing the purpose of these videos and who would have access to the recordings.


Interrogators have also subjected women inmates to invasive physical contact, including rectal and vaginal examinations, to make sure the prisoners did not conceal anything, said Nargis, which is a pseudonym to protect her identity.


Nargis, who was detained during nationwide protests last year, is herself a victim of such invasive and humiliating body searches. She said that the authorities are subjecting women inmates to such “unlawful" and “inhumane” treatment to “mentally break” them.


Nargis said she had been subjected to a total of eight strip-downs and body searches before her transfers between the detention center and the intelligence departments. 


"Every morning throughout my interrogation, when they transported me from the detention center to the intelligence department and back, I underwent the same kind of physical search. In the final two days, when I was taken to prison, I underwent two more physical searches."


"They meticulously searched our clothes and inspected our bras and panties. They emptied the pockets of our pants and other garments, and if we were wearing a belt, they would examine it too."


Narges said the three-year-old daughter of one of the agents attended at least one of the strip-searches.

"I protested, refusing to undress in front of the child, and [the mother] instructed me to step aside. Some women, arrested on drug-related charges, were also subjected to inspections before me.”


Narges said that some strip-downs were filmed: "I was transferred from one intelligence department to another. The intelligence office had a small space devoid of cameras where we were instructed to undress.


Once fully naked, we were expected to sit down and perform specific movements to ensure that if we had concealed anything, it would be expelled. I vehemently protested against this degrading practice."


Narges said that such physical inspections are in contravention of Article 53 of the code regulating the Prisons Organization.


The activist said this article requires such inspections to take place in a designated room and that, when possible, electronic devices should be used for body searches. 


"The regulation explicitly forbids body inspections without clothing or intimate examinations…Yet, these violations persist. I was searched without the use of electronic devices since they are not available there."



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