Source: The Guardian
Feb 8, 2023
Internal report on rape of two women arrested during protests suppressed for fear of ‘misrepresentation by enemy groups’
BY Patrick Wintour, Diplomatic editor
Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards raped two women in an attack covered up by state prosecutors, according to an internal judicial document seen by the Guardian.
The document, originally leaked to Iran International, reveals the case of sexual assault by two IRGC officers of a woman aged 18 and a woman of 23 in a van during protests against the death in September of Mahsa Amini in police custody in Tehran.
The two women were detained for acting suspiciously, it said, and their phones were examined for evidence they had been at the protests.
Activists have alleged that some of the women arrested have been sexually abused by security officials during the protests, but this is the first internal document that has emerged showing a specific case.
Written by Mohammad Shahriari, the deputy prosecutor and head of the General and Revolution Prosecutor’s Office of Tehran, and addressed to Ali Salehi, the Tehran general and revolution prosecutor, the 13 October 2022 document, a report on a collection of witness statements, says two named women were assaulted by two named male security officials.
The case came to the attention of prosecutors after one of the IRGC officers rang one of the victims after the assault and she recorded what he said before filing a complaint. He initially denied the charges, before changing his story to say the two women had consented to sex.
The officer is reported to have been detained along with his father at their house in Tehran, where batons, ammunition, bulletproof jackets, police radios, handcuffs and IDs for different security organisations were found. The second agent was arrested separately and transferred to a police intelligence unit prison.
The report details how the two men eventually admitted to intercourse with the two women, which the document described as rape. The first officer acknowledged that they had detained the two women near a petrol station while on a mission on Sattarkhan street in western Tehran. The IRGC officers initially took them to the Revolutionary Guard headquarters, but were told it was not possible to admit the accused women.
The first officer claimed that the women had made sexual advances and he had recited Sigheh, a private and verbal temporary marriage that can make intercourse permissible. He named three other officers, including the second officer, who might have been involved in the rape of the second woman.
The second officer admitted in his witness statement he had had sex with the victim but claimed it had been consensual.
The document continues: “Considering the problematic nature of the case, the possibility of the leaking of this information into social media and its misrepresentation by enemy groups, it is recommended that the necessary order [is] issued for it to be filed top secret.
Since no complaint has been registered and the defendants have been dismissed, the accused should be dismissed without mentioning their names.”
It added the case should be closed without any reference to the military institution involved.