Neka, Apr. 11 – A number of government
officials and security officers were arrested during raids on at least five
houses used as brothels in and around the town of Neka (northern Iran).
The raids, conducted during the past two weeks, uncovered several organised child prostitution rings running the brothels.
Many runaway girls, some as young as 13, were being forced into prostitution
by these gangs.
A number of officers from Iran’s notorious State Security Forces
(SSF) and commanders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were also
arrested in the brothels.
The heads of a number of local government departments and institutions,
including the head of the Neka branch of the
Ministry of Telecommunications were among those rounded up in the raids.
The girls have also been arrested pending judicial sentencing.
Last August, Atefeh Rajabi,
a 16-year-old girl in this town, was publicly hanged for what the religious
judge called “acts incompatible with chastity”.
Atefeh died in front of residents in this
industrial town near the Caspian Sea on August 15, after suffering years of brutal violence, exploitation
and torture in the hands of local officials including some of those arrested
in the recent raids.
When Iran Focus broke the news of her execution and revealed the abuse she
suffered at the hands of local officials, the Iranian government vehemently
denied the report as “sheer lies”.
The religious judge who ordered the execution put the rope around Atefeh’s neck and later received a letter of
“congratulations” from the town’s governor, commending him for his “firm
Atefeh had no access to a lawyer at any stage and
her death sentence was upheld by a Supreme Court that is dominated by
fundamentalist mullahs. Haji Rezaii,
the religious judge, was reportedly so incensed with Atefeh’s
“sharp tongue” during the trial that he travelled
to Tehran to convince the clerics of the Supreme Court
to uphold the death sentence.