Saturday, August 22, 2009

america and iran do have something in common

It has emerged that protesters in Iran imprisoned for the impunity of demanding their vote be counted have been subjected to systematic sexual violence while in custody. From the BBC:
A defeated opposition candidate in Iran's presidential election has called for an investigation into allegations some protesters were raped in prison.

In a letter to former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mehdi Karroubi said senior officials had informed him of the "shameful behaviour" taking place.

Mr Karroubi wrote that both male and female detainees had been raped, with some suffering serious injuries.
This is hardly surprising, but tragic nevertheless. And finally, the United States and Iran can agree on something -- that the brutalization of its prison inmates makes for good corrective policy.

A reader of Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish talks about how explosive this is:

By publicly stating that he knows of many, many young girls and guys who have been brutally raped while in the infamous Kahrizak jail, Karroubi breaks a major taboo and brings shame on the whole system.
Sadly, this is something we don't have in common: the epidemic of sexual violence that permeates America's ever-growing prison population will continue until we stop thinking that it's funny, nothing will be done. Because, apparently, someone thrown in prison for asserting their civil rights is a human being, while someone thrown in there for falling afoul of draconian Rockefeller drug laws is less so. So you're right, Norm. We have a lot of growing up to do.

Lest you think this is the rambling of a bleeding heart lefty, keep in mind that this is also about self-preservation. In a country where 1 in 100 citizens are in prison, and 1 in 31 is touched in one way or another by the corrections system, violence within prison walls will soon spill out. Lord help us all when that happens.

This is probably as good a time as any to point you to

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