AMONG the many harrowing tales from Iranian refugees, few can match Farrokh’s account of how he was raped by the Basij for sticking posters on a wall.
Sitting in his flat in the southern city of Kayseri, the 27-year-old, who is gay, told his story yesterday, growing agitated and chain-smoking while he did so.
"I still can’t believe anyone could do such a thing," he said.
Though Farrokh is far from Iran he would still not give his full name or be photographed face-on for fear of reprisals against his family.
He was a human rights activist working clandestinely for the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, a group that supports homosexuals in a country where gay sex is punishable by lashing or execution.
In last year’s presidential elections, Farrokh campaigned for Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist candidate. He then supported the opposition movement in his home town of Karaj, an hour’s drive from Tehran.
On the symbolically important 40th day after the death of Neda Agha Soltan – a young woman whose shooting death made her a worldwide icon of the opposition – he went out at night with two friends to stick pictures of her on walls.
Two plainclothes security agents in a passing car caught them and took them to a Basij base.
They were made to stand blindfolded in a yard for 90 minutes and were asked repeatedly whether they were working for the MKO – an exiled opposition movement. Farrokh was then taken alone to a classroom where the two men began hitting him.
Source: Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees – IRQR