Iranian diplomat details U.S. abuse

An Iranian diplomat released last week after being kidnapped in Iraq gave a detailed account of torture he suffered at the hands of his captors, who included U.S. officials.

Iranian diplomat details U.S. abuse

An Iranian diplomat released last week after being kidnapped in Iraq gave a detailed account of torture he suffered at the hands of his captors, who included U.S. officials.

Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary at Iran's embassy in Baghdad, said earlier this week that he was subjected to torture "day and night" by his captors.

On Thursday, he gave reporters a detailed account of beatings and interrogations, including being whipped on his feet with cables.

The press conference came a day after the head of the International Red Cross in Tehran said he saw wounds on the diplomat's body.


Sharafi, who attended the news conference in a wheelchair and was accompanied by medical staff, told reporters that a U.S. official was present while his captors tortured him.

The Iranian diplomat was abducted in February and was released last Tuesday, a day before the Iranian government freed 15 British sailors and marines who illegally entered its waters, raising speculation that his release was part of a deal to free the Britons.

But both the UK and Iran denied any connection between the two cases.

"Mock executions"

Looking thin and weak, Sharafi said he was kidnapped from a Baghdad street by people who had "Iraqi defense ministry ID cards."

"They tied my feet and hands and lashed my soles hundreds of times with cables and kicked and punched me," Sharafi said, showing traces of slash marks on his back.

"They performed mock executions while my eyes were blindfolded and my hands and feet were bound," he added.



The 40-year-old diplomat said an American official had been present when he was tortured on his feet with what felt like an electric drill.

"When I regained consciousness, the person who came to me clearly introduced himself as an American,"

"But since I didn't speak English, I was using an Arabic translator,"

"At different stages, he told me this man had connections to the U.S. embassy and was directly responsible for me."

Sharafi also said that the "American began with a soft attitude at first. But turned harsh when he could not get any cooperation from me."



"He (the American) threatened to kill me by bites of wild dogs,"

"They wanted me to confess that Iran intervenes in Iraq's domestic affairs and was a threat to the countries of the region," the diplomat said.

Earlier this week, Sharafi told Iranian state media that his captors were agents of an Iraqi unit working under CIA supervision. He also said that they had questioned him mainly about Iran's alleged influence in Iraq and its assistance to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government and Iraqi resistance groups.

Torture trauma

A psychiatrist at the press conference told journalists that Sharafi was continually reliving the trauma of his torture and had been badly affected by sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.

On Wednesday, the head of the International Red Cross in Tehran said he saw wounds on Sharafi's feet, legs, back and nose.



Although Peter Stoeker confirmed that the wounds took place during Sharafi's detention, he said he was unable to say if the scars were the result of torture.

One correspondent who attended the Tehran press conference also said there were visible scars on Sharafi's feet and ankles.

The United States denied any involvement in Sharafi's abduction or release, and the Iraqi government said that it doesn't know who had held the diplomat.

Diplomatic tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran over the detention of five Iranians by U.S. occupation forces in the Iraqi city of Irbil last January.

Washington claims that the Iranians are aiding the Iraqi resistance. But Tehran insists that they have diplomatic status.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi suggested on Wednesday that Tehran may boycott a conference on Iraq next month unless the five Iranians are released.

"We have reminded Iraqi officials that until the time of the Iranian diplomats' release, Iran's attendance in any conference on Iraq, should the U.S. attend, would encounter problems and barriers," Araghchi was quoted as saying by the Kayhan newspaper.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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