FILE: Members of Iran's Basij paramilitary force on parade in Tehran. A reputed militia member said prison guards in Iran marry and rape female virgins the night before their executions.
Members of Iran's feared Basij militia forcibly marry female virgin prisoners the night before scheduled executions, raping their new "wives" and making it religiously acceptable to execute them, a self-professed member of the paramilitary group said.
The anonymous militiaman told the Jerusalem Post that at age 18 he was "given the 'honor' to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death."
In the Islamic Republic of Iran it is illegal to execute a woman if she is a virgin, the former guard told the newspaper. So the government arranges "wedding" ceremonies to be conducted the night before executions, and prisoners are forced to have sexual intercourse with a guard.
Raped by her new "husband," a female prisoner is now fit to be put to death.
"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," said the militiaman, who told the Jerusalem Post he had just been released from prison himself after freeing two teenagers rounded up during post-election protests.
Some of the prisoners in his care were drugged with sleeping pills to make them docile, as the girls in their custody always fought back, he said, fearing the night of the rape more deeply than their executions the following day.
"I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he told the paper. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."