Iranian Opponents of Khomeini Show Torture Wounds; Call for Boycott
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Three Iranians displayed scars they said were the result of torture and called Friday for an international boycott of the Islamic government, saying Ayatollah Khomeini ″lives on an ocean of blood.″
Hossein Dadkhah, 29, said he lost three toes after being whipped with knotted electric cables in an Iranian prison.
″Khomeini lives on an ocean of blood,″ said Dadkhah, 29, who said he was tortured in front of his wife and daughter after his arrest in December 1982.
He said his wife was imprisoned and executed in April 1984.
The three former prisoners who opposed Khomeini appeared at a news conference called by supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a member of the coalition National Council of Resistance. They spoke through interpreters. The groups oppose the regime of Khomeini, who leads a fundamentalist Islamic government established after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in February 1979.
Amir Zamani, spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations, denied there was torture in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
″There have been cases where the members of the Mojahedin have inflicted physical marks on their own bodies in different forms in order to attribute that to the government of Iran,″ Zamani said.
But Narges Shayesteh, 27, said at the news conference she was subjected to nine types of torture.
She unbuttoned her blouse to show a part of her left breast, which had burn scars she said were inflicted by her captors’ cigarettes during the 21/2 years she was held in five different prisons.
Displaying the scars of knife wounds on her left wrist, Ms. Shayesteh said her torturers left her with broken teeth, cut lips and burns on her hands.
She said she was hung head-down from the ceiling for several hours with her hands tied behind her back.
″I saw torture of my 2-year-old niece before my eyes,″ Ms. Shayesteh said, tears welling up in her eyes. ″I saw a 14-year-old girl, my cellmate, raped by four Khomeini guards.″
She said she saw as many as 500 prisoners executed at one time.
Mojgan Homayounfar, 24, showed an artificial limb as she told how a soldier sliced off her left leg with a machete after she was arrested in September 1981.
Ms. Homayounfar said she was released because authorities feared demonstrations if she died in prison. Ms. Shayesteh and Dadkhah escaped from prison, according to a press release. None would discuss how they left Iran.
″We demand that all of the countries throughout the world impose an economic and military boycott of Khomeini,″ said Ali Safavi, spokesman for the Mojahedin in the United States. ″We ask for support for the resistance of Iranian people against Khomeini’s repression and belligerence.″
Dadkhah said he believes only 5 percent of the Iranian people support Khomeini.
The Mojahedin group says there are more than 140,000 political prisoners in Iran and that Khomeini’s followers have executed more than 50,000 people. Safavi said the three people at the news conference were not members of the organization.
″Their crime was to oppose the Khomeini regime and its policies,″ he said.
Followers of Mojahedin, founded 20 years ago, profess the Islamic faith, but generally take a socialistic and more secular approach to government and life in general than Khomeini’s supporters. They were active in the overthrow of the shah, but soon were denounced by hardline Khomeini followers.
Zamani called Mojahedin a ″terrorist organization committed to the overthrow of the rightful government of Islamic Republic of Iran.″
He said some Mojahedin members had been executed for terrorist activities and that there were different standards of punishment in Islamic and western cultures.
″There are punishments in Islam for certain crimes that might be considered physical abuse in Western concepts of criminal justice,″ Zamani said. ″However, what these people have claimed is out of the question.″