A scandal has erupted in Iran after it was revealed that members of a rape gang terrorizing women in a minority province are sons of key government officials.
The gang is believed to be comprised of four Shiite men. One is said to be from an extremely rich family. The men have allegedly preyed on at least 41 Sunni women in the city of Iranshahr, located in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan.
However, Iran’s chief prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri has denied the rapes happened and has threatened to arrest and punish anyone who talks about it, including Iranshahr’s Sunni Imam Mawlavi Tayeb Mollazehi, who made the allegations.
The rapes were reported by the official news agency of the Iranian parliament, ICANA, as well as MP Tayebeh Siavoshi, a reformist politician and part of the women’s parliamentary bloc.
The Sistan and Baluchestan province is known for its lawlessness. In addition, it has been alleged that Shiite security personnel turn the other way when crimes are committed against Sunnis.
Because a rape victim is viewed as having “dishonored” her family (who might kill her for being raped), only three complaints have been filed. Iranshahr governor Mohammad Baluchzehi said that the silence on the part of the families only contributes to the rising number of victims.
The head of a medical ethics organization in Baluchestan said that at least one of the women who came forward was examined, and it was confirmed that she was raped.
The women, who range in age between 18 and 30, were kidnapped one by one, stuffed into the back of a black Peugot and taken to a house in Iranshahr where they were gang raped.
Some of the victims were able to identify the location of the house as well as details of their attackers.
In parliament, the MP for Iranshahr expressed outrage over the rapes and demanded the full weight of the law to bring the men to justice.
On the streets in Iranshahr, hundreds of citizens demonstrated, demanding that the perpetrators be arrested and executed. If not, they vowed to carry out justice themselves.