A recent terrifying case of child abuse in Iran has been reported to be the third event of extreme tragic cases of child abuse, only in less than a month.
While Iran reportedly has a history of high statistics in child abuse history over the few previous decades, usually no or little news of it is broadcasted in local or national media, unless the news are drastically heartbreaking.
Little Barbod, burnt by his father
On May 18, 2011, only a week after the second biggest child abuse case of the year in Iran, the story of another child burnt in fire has shocked the nation as well as international civil rights activists.
Barbod, a 3 years old boy, burnt in fire up to 70% by his own father, has a very little chance of survival according to the nurses in the hospital he has been under treatment.
As most of the similar controversial cases, poverty, drug-addiction and lack of healthy spousal relationship has been announced as the cause of the parent crime. According to Rooz-online, [link to Persian language webpage], an Internet-based newspaper published by reformists and oppositions outside Iran, Mina, Barbod’s mother, separated her husband, Mohammed, due to his addiction issues which would make him abnormal most of the times.
Mohammed threatened to hurt Barbod in order to make his wife come back to him. On a day when Barbod was alone at home with his grandmother, Mohammed enters the home with a bottle of gasoline pouring it all over his toddler and put fire on him. Barbod’s grandmother could only involve after hearing the child’s screams. Neighbors took Barbod to hospital immediately while Police also took Mohammed to hospital as he was also partially burnt in the scene.
According to the article published by Benjamin Sadr, a Rooz-online journalist, child abuse rate has doubled in Iran over a year, mostly as a result of increasing poverty and families tough financial problems, as quoted by Dr. Mostafa Eghlima, the head of Academic Association of Social Workers in Iran. "While the state’s prisons are accommodating three times of their capacity, divorce rate increased 6% compared to previous year and marriage decreased by 2% in a similar period, it is anticipated to see child abuse rates and other social problems to increase as a result" , said Dr. Eghlima.
Iran’s poverty line is believed to be $1000 USD, according to Dr. Eghlima but neither officially confirmed nor denied by any state authorities. Average wage rate for workers is $330 USD a month, while a small apartment rents $500 USD. This inequality brings in all different types of social harms and problems in one way or another.
As per state’s law the custody of children remains for the father unless he is found to be incapable or disqualified to keep the child under certain conditions.
“It is true that according to the law, a father can take the custody of his child at any time with a court order" said Dr. Eghlima. "By law, even if a father kills his child, he faces no retribution. However, the law also requires a father’s mental and psychological health to be confirmed by the Medical Examiner before placing the child in his custody. At first, all the factors which have brought about child abuse must be identified and resolved, and the only group that is qualified to do so is the Welfare Organization.”
Nima, 4 year old son, bitten to death
A week before Barbod was burnt by his father, Nima, another 4 years old boy was reported bitten to death by his parents. The Mofid children hospital received the boy taken to hospital by his own parents. Iranian Students’ News Agency – ISNA- [link to English Home Page of the website] quoted one of hospital’s staff saying: “ At arrival time [to the hospital] the boy admitted he was burnt by his father, but later he refrained to confirm the same when facing any follow-up questions, clearly showing he is fearful to talk.”
The reports and the photo published in the Internet indicate that Nima had severe degree of burning all over his body including his genitals and extensive trauma in both eyes. However some of the burning and cuts are old, belonging to the past.
No clear reason has been disclosed yet as why the parents tortured their own son. Yet after only 10 days in hospital, Nima was taken home yesterday, May 22, 2011 by the parents once he was released from the hospital. According to ISNA, Leila Arshad, a board member of Children Rights Support Association, reacted to the news: “Since there are some supportive institutes (to take action) it is not justifiable to let Nima go back to his abusive parents.” She further added: “Traumas, broken bones, old scars, burnt body and particularly burnt genitals clearly show that his parents have done all these so deliberately. Therefore it can’t be justified merely as over-anger sudden crime.”
The Human Rights Activists News Agency released a photo of Nima taken before his release from the hospital.
Hanieh, 8 years old girl, tortured by stepfather catastrophically
The first heartbreaking child abuse news of the year in Iran published by Iranian Mehr News Agency a month ago. According to Mehr reporter, Hanieh, 8 years old girl, has survived all unbelievable types of physical attacks and tortures a child can bear, including burning by cigarettes, boiling water, and hot metallic objects. She has also suffered most aggressive attacks resulting in several broken bones, broken hands, legs, elbows, head, and sever eyes trauma.
Mehr News Agency has published afterwards a series of reports and photos about Hanieh’ status ever since she was taken to hospital barely alive, on late April 2011.
In an interview with Mehr News Agency, Dr. Kamran Aghakhani, specialist and forensic expert said: “We see quite a lot of child abuse cases, but Hanieh’s case is not comparable to any other one. The extent of tortures on Hanieh is so much that cannot be described.”
“It is so tragic! Is hard to believe that whoever tortured her has any human heart or mind.” Dr. Aghakhani added.
Hanieh told the hospital staff that she was living with an addicted mother and stepfather who had not given her anything to eat over the past four days.
Mehr News Agency followed up on Hanieh’s status after couple of weeks she was in the hospital, only to find out that Hanieh was not yet ready to undergo several surgeries that are critical in her overall treatment. Apart from severe physical and body damage, she has been mentally suffered to the extent it makes her operations more risky and complex.
The stepfather has been arrested and waiting for a trial.