Accusations of Torture and Sexual Abuse by Iranian Authorities

The increase in torture and sexual violence by Iranian authorities against protesters, especially in the prison system, has been reported by women’s rights activists and human rights researchers in Northern Iraq. The death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, while in police custody sparked a nationwide protest movement in Iran. Kurdish separatist party PAK alleges that sexual violence is being used against protesters, and Amnesty International has documented evidence of coordinated and top-down ordered torture and abuse of women within the prison system. The Kurdistan Human Rights Network has also reported increasing abuse by authorities, including threats against protesters’ family members. Despite the regime’s use of harsh tactics, protesters believe that the Islamic Republic’s days are numbered. The US and several Western countries have imposed new sanctions targeting the Iranian religious police and security forces, but PAK members claim that these sanctions have not halted the core activities of Iran’s intelligence services and officials. These women believe that the protests indicate a weakening of the Islamic Republic, with its core becoming empty.