The human rights organization Amnesty International has accused Iranian security forces of raping demonstrators in connection with the wave of protests in autumn 2022. The sexual violence was directed against women, men and minors with the aim of intimidating protesters, according to a report published by Amnesty on Wednesday. According to the organization, this is based on statements from those affected, relatives, psychologists and other prisoners.

The protests in Iran against the repressive government policy last year plunged the country’s political leadership into one of the worst crises in decades. The security forces sometimes used massive violence against the demonstrators; according to human rights activists, several hundred were killed. Thousands of protesters were arrested. The political and spiritual leadership in Tehran is now showing itself to be self-confident again.

In the report that has now been published, Amnesty describes some shocking details about the events in detention or police custody. Objects such as glass bottles or batons are said to have been used in the rapes, and in some cases there were also group rapes. In total, the organization was able to document 45 cases of sexual violence against demonstrators after arrests in various parts of the country, with rape occurring in 16 cases.

“Sexual violence is one of the most brutal weapons in the Iranian authorities’ arsenal to humiliate protesters and suppress criticism in order to remain in power at all costs,” said Julia Duchrow, secretary general of Amnesty International in Germany. So far, not a single perpetrator within the secret services and security forces has been charged. The vast majority of those affected did not file a complaint because they had no trust in the justice system.