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Kurds in Iran’s western city of Mahabad are rioting against the Iranian government after the torture and brutal death of activist, Shovaneh Ghaderi, at the hands of the police. Shovaneh was a member of the Revolutionary Union of Kurdistan. His crime evidently was to call for autonomy in Kurdistan.
Reports are that Shovaneh was shot by police and tied to a car. He was dragged by the car to the police station, suffering severe lacerations. At the police station, he was allegedly tortured until he died. Shovaneh was 25-years old at the time of his murder.
The police brutality came to light when Shovaneh’s body was returned to his family for burial. The police put him in a coffin that they nailed closed. The police forced the parents to sign a paper swearing they would not open the coffin and that they would bury their son that night.
Friends forcefully opened the coffin and photographed Shovaneh’s body – the gruesome photos were then posted on the Internet. The photos are deeply disturbing. The mullahs have no hesitation to be brutal to their own citizens, while betting the world will never see their crimes. The mullahs have been protected because common decency in the civilized world often lacks the courage to show the world the graphic results of such terrifying state violence.
Reports coming out of Mahabad suggest that Shovaneh was shot in the leg and that his torture included cutting open his chest all the way to his stomach – while he was still alive. Residents there claim that acid was thrown on Shovaneh’s back. The severe lacerations to his body and the swelling from being dragged in the street by the police car, or from beatings at the police station, are evident from looking at the photographs of the body.
A series of clashes have broken out between the local Kurdish residents and the police. The Islamic Republic of Iran has moved in soldiers to stop the protests in the streets. A curfew was imposed and numerous incidents of violence between Kurdish demonstrators and Iranian police have been reported.
The world press has largely ignored the incident, focusing instead upon the mullahs and their prolonged negotiations with the E.U.-3 regarding their nuclear program. The mullahs have over $200 million a day in oil revenue, which they use to enrich themselves (and their international friends) and to buy expensive public relations and legal assistance around the world, including inside the United States.
In viewing these photographs, we should call to mind the warning issued by Natan Sharansky in his book, “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tryanny & Terror”: “Societies that do not allow dissent will never protect human rights.”
During the Iran Freedom Walk, the office of the president and the vice president assured us that all stories of those fighting for freedom in Iran will be taken seriously and passed to the appropriate individuals within our government. The president has already spoken out in support of the imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji, who is into his second month of a hunger strike that threatens to risk his life. We will make sure the White House is aware of Shovaneh Ghaderi’s story as well.
In writing the book “Atomic Iran, I attempted to warn the world that the mullahs are pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program. If the mullahs resume enriching uranium, we should assume they are going to reach the “point of no return,” defined as reaching the moment when even a military attack would not prevent the mullahs from developing a deliverable atom bomb. The world should be aware: Terrorists do not stockpile weapons, they use them.
A regime which would tolerate the type of official brutality that tortured and murdered Shovaneh Ghaderi should never be trusted to possess nuclear weapons. We ignore this warning at our own risk.