TEHRAN (Reuters) - Some Iranian reformers jailed after the disputed presidential election were raped in prison, a member of a parliamentary investigation said on Thursday.
“Raping of some detainees with a baton and soda bottle has been proven to us,” the Parlemannews website quoted the unidentified lawmaker from the investigative committee as saying.
Iran’s defeated presidential candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, had said some imprisoned protesters were raped and abused in jail, a charge government officials rejected as “baseless.”
But parliament speaker Ali Larijani said last week he would be ready to consider any documents or other evidence submitted by Karoubi to back up his claims.
Larijani had ordered the formation of the parliamentary committee to investigate the plight of detainees, most of whom were held during mass protests following the results of the June 12 election.
Karoubi, a moderate, had said four people were ready to testify to parliament that they were sexually abused in jail if their security was guaranteed.
The pro-reform cleric has angered some hardliners in power for raising the allegations and they suggested Karoubi should be jailed or lashed if he failed to prove his claims.
Another moderate, losing candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, backed Karoubi and accused “establishment agents” of raping and abusing detainees.
Iranian moderates say the June vote was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election, a charge the authorities deny.
The poll and its turbulent aftermath have plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis in the past three decades.
Rights groups say hundreds of people, including senior pro-reform politicians, journalists and activists, have been detained since the election. Many remain in jail.
Leading moderates say at least 69 people were killed after the vote, contradicting the official figure of 26 deaths.
A reformist website, the Mosharekat, said members of the investigative committee had been threatened.
“Some members of the committee have been repeatedly threatened ... They had submitted their resignations, but Larijani has asked them to continue with their work,” said the website.
The reformist Norooz website said last week that at least 40 people were buried in unnamed graves in a southern Tehran cemetery. A former head of the cemetery denied the report.
The website repeated its claims on Thursday and said more unidentified bodies had been buried in another section of the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. It published pictures of the graves.
“In case of no convincing official explanation ... we will ... have to publish ... pictures of bloody corpses buried in these graves,” the website said.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Robert Woodward