Furious crowds gathered again in the city of Chabahar in Sistan and Baluchistan province on Tuesday night after the Friday Imam of a nearby town confirmed their local police chief had raped a 15-year-old girl.
Videos published on social media tonight showed intense clashes between residents and security forces, with gunfire heard in the streets after dark.
People in Chabahar had already demonstrated on previous nights over the killing of Mahsa Amini by the “morality police” in Tehran on September 16 this month.
That incident has unleashed a tidal wave of resentment against the Iranian regime at large, which on the 13th night of nationwide protests showed no sign of abating.
News that a Baluch teenager in their city had also fallen victim to sex-based violence inflamed demonstrations in Chabahar on Tuesday. One group set a police kiosk on fire and outside the governor’s building.
It came after Molavi Abdul Ghaffar Naghshbandi, the Friday Imam of the city of Rask, broke his silence and confirmed he had spoken to the victim after the incident took place in early September.
In a statement, Naghshbandi said: “I know it is my duty, in both faith and conscience, to break this deadly silence so that this aggressor will be punished for his shameful actions.”
Iran International reports that the teenage girl’s family has been put under house arrest to stifle the news from spreading. Last week the family home of Mahsa Amini in Saqqez was similarly under armed guard.
A leading Sunni cleric in Iran, sometimes critical of the government, has implicitly confirmed reports about the rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander.
Molavi Abdolhamid, the religious leader of Iran’s largely Sunni Baluch population living in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan referred to the incident during his sermon on Friday, describing it as “the incident,” without elaborating the names and the details of the case.
Haalvsh website, a local news outlet, first reported the rape earlier in September but the case was buried, and no investigation took place to follow up the case.
Colonel Ebrahim Khouchakzai, the commander of the police in the city of Chabahar, allegedly raped the 15-year-old girl when he was investigating a murder case in one of the neighborhoods of the city. Apparently, the girl was the daughter of one of the neighbors of the murdered woman and Khouchakzai took her to his office for questioning and raped her.
The girl came back home and told her mother that the colonel stripped her clothes off under the pretext of checking her body and then raped her.
According to the latest reports, the police forces of the city have taken hostage three relatives of the rape victim to force her family to publicly deny the reports and promise not to file complaint against Colonel Khouchakzai.