The crushing of the Iranian spirit

Iranian Ibrahim Sharifi protested during the recent post-election uprising. His story, told here in yesterday’s New York Times, is devastating:

Mr. Sharifi was one of five brothers raised in north Tehran in a middle class family that was religious but not fanatically so. His father, a retired military officer, was a supporter of the 1979 revolution and participated in the rallies against the shah. His mother wore the traditional head-to-toe chador.
At Open University in Tehran, Mr. Sharifi studied computer engineering, and Italian at the Italian Consulate, the latter in hopes of studying medicine in Italy.
Not overtly political, he said he wanted more democracy and freedom, but gradually and peacefully. “I always told my father that even the 1979 revolution was a mistake, and that my generation did not want one,” he said.
He says everyone in his family favored the reform movement and were shocked when Mr. Ahmadinejad announced that he had won in a landslide victory, an outcome that has been denounced as a fraud.
Mr. Sharifi was outraged, and the only one in his family who began participating in rallies every day. He was on his way back home the afternoon of June 22 when he was grabbed by two men. “I had taken part in every single protest, so I saw this coming,” he said.
He said he was handcuffed, blindfolded and, as he later learned, taken to the notorious Kahrizak detention center in southwestern Tehran, where even the government concedes that several detainees were killed.
He said he remained handcuffed and blindfolded for four days in a cramped cell with about 30 other prisoners.
They were beaten senseless the first day, he said, and periodically after that over the next four days. Urine and blood covered the floor.
By the fourth day he was beginning to lose hope of getting out alive. He had trouble closing his mouth and he said he began vomiting blood.
“I told the guard that he should go ahead and just kill me if he wanted to,” he said, breaking into tears. “Then he called another guard and said ”˜Take this bastard and impregnate him.’ ”
They took him out of the cell to another room where they pushed him against a wall that had handcuffs and two metal hooks to keep his legs open. The guard pulled down his underwear, he said, and began raping him.
“He laughed mockingly as he was doing it and said that I could not even defend myself so how did I think that I could stage a revolution.
“They wanted to horrify and intimidate me,” he said, weeping.
At that point, Mr. Sharifi said, he passed out. The next thing he remembered was opening his eyes and realizing he was in a hospital with one hand cuffed to his bed. Another young man was screaming hysterically on a bed next to him.
He said he heard a doctor tell someone, “Dump him or you’ll have the same problem as the other ones,” meaning that he would die in custody. Two days later, he said, they put him in a car, took him to a highway in Tehran and left him there, blindfolded.

Mr. Sharifi was one of five brothers raised in north Tehran in a middle class family that was religious but not fanatically so. His father, a retired military officer, was a supporter of the 1979 revolution and participated in the rallies against the shah. His mother wore the traditional head-to-toe chador.

At Open University in Tehran, Mr. Sharifi studied computer engineering, and Italian at the Italian Consulate, the latter in hopes of studying medicine in Italy.

Not overtly political, he said he wanted more democracy and freedom, but gradually and peacefully. “I always told my father that even the 1979 revolution was a mistake, and that my generation did not want one,” he said.

He says everyone in his family favored the reform movement and were shocked when Mr. Ahmadinejad announced that he had won in a landslide victory, an outcome that has been denounced as a fraud.

Mr. Sharifi was outraged, and the only one in his family who began participating in rallies every day. He was on his way back home the afternoon of June 22 when he was grabbed by two men. “I had taken part in every single protest, so I saw this coming,” he said.

He said he was handcuffed, blindfolded and, as he later learned, taken to the notorious Kahrizak detention center in southwestern Tehran, where even the government concedes that several detainees were killed.

He said he remained handcuffed and blindfolded for four days in a cramped cell with about 30 other prisoners.

They were beaten senseless the first day, he said, and periodically after that over the next four days. Urine and blood covered the floor.

By the fourth day he was beginning to lose hope of getting out alive. He had trouble closing his mouth and he said he began vomiting blood.

“I told the guard that he should go ahead and just kill me if he wanted to,” he said, breaking into tears. “Then he called another guard and said ”˜Take this bastard and impregnate him.’ ”

They took him out of the cell to another room where they pushed him against a wall that had handcuffs and two metal hooks to keep his legs open. The guard pulled down his underwear, he said, and began raping him.

“He laughed mockingly as he was doing it and said that I could not even defend myself so how did I think that I could stage a revolution.

“They wanted to horrify and intimidate me,” he said, weeping.

At that point, Mr. Sharifi said, he passed out. The next thing he remembered was opening his eyes and realizing he was in a hospital with one hand cuffed to his bed. Another young man was screaming hysterically on a bed next to him.

He said he heard a doctor tell someone, “Dump him or you’ll have the same problem as the other ones,” meaning that he would die in custody. Two days later, he said, they put him in a car, took him to a highway in Tehran and left him there, blindfolded.