The IRGC’s Center to Investigate Organized Crime was established in 2007 to work on its first project, dubbed “Gerdab” (Whirlpool). It resulted in the termination of 90 Persian pornographic websites and the arrest of 45 people accused of producing such sites.
Justice for Iran reports that in recorded confessions later aired on television, the detainees were seen admitting they intended to attack “the cultural basis of the Islamic Republic through corrupting and driving the youth from the right path as well as having political agendas against the government or Islam and receiving money from the American government to establish and produce pornographic content.”
A year and a half later, according to Justice for Iran, a number of these detainees or their families alleged that they had made these confessions under duress, the result of abuse and torture in prison.
Some of these detainees have filed official complaints against their investigators with the Iranian judiciary, but so far none has been processed.
The report goes on to indicate that seven people arrested in the Gerdab project have been sentenced to death, and three of them, Saeed Malekpour, Ahmadreza Hashempour and Mehdi Alizadeh, are in imminent danger of execution.
Justice for Iran adds that the IRGC’s Center to Investigate Organized Crime was instrumental in identifying, arresting and questioning election protesters from 2009.
The human rights groups also accuses the IRGC’s Center to Investigate Organized Crime of threatening journalists and bloggers such as Parastoo Dokouhaki, Marzieh Rasouli and Sahameddin Bourghani, accusing them of links to Persian BBC and coercing them into making false confessions.
These journalists were finally released, and their recorded confessions were aired on Iran’s national TV broadcaster and also on Press TV, the Islamic Republic’s English-language network.
Justice for Iran has already identified three of the people directly involved in carrying out the Gerdab project; they appear on the latest list of human-rights violators released by the European on March 24.
Justice for Iran says the international community must go further in its efforts to blacklist the center and all of the people involved in running it.
They also call for the blocking of the Gerdab website, which according to the rights group is used by the center “for repression and widespread violation of the rights of citizens and cyber activists.”
They also call for all sentences in the Gerbab case to be rescinded and for all the accused to be given fair trials.