A reported admission of abuse at an Iranian prison could help boost Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s public image. Here, Khamenei and re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad share an awkward embrace during an official ceremony Aug. 3.
Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported Monday that local authorities have admitted that a 25-year-old detainee who was arrested in the wave of protests following June’s presidential election in Iran died from abuse at the hands of prison officials, according to The New York Times. —KA
The New York Times:
The apparent admission of abuse appears to fit squarely with the recent strategy of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, of trying to calm the political crisis that has refused to let up, and to try to restore some of his lost credibility, political analysts said. As a religious and civil leader, he is supposed to be seen as above the political fray and as the embodiment of justice, qualities that analysts and reform supporters say were badly compromised when he sided with the president during the crisis.
The admission — if it is confirmed and leads to punishment — could also shore up his support among senior clerics and pragmatic conservative politicians upset about the treatment of prisoners, President Ahmadinejad’s attempts to consolidate power and the Supreme Leader’s handling of the post-election crisis. Mr. Ruholamini’s case helped galvanize their anger.
Mr. Ruholamini’s father Adolhossein, was a senior political adviser to Mohsen Rezai, a defeated presidential candidate and former commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards. Authorities had told the elder Mr. Ruholamini on Aug. 9 that his son died from meningitis. But Mr. Ruholamini, who leads a prestigious scientific center in Tehran, later said he found his son’s bloodied and bruised body in a morgue.