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Star witness in Iran case sexually brutalized his cellmate: lawsuit

07 December 2017

Zarrab has accused Turkish politicians, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of helping Iran evade USA sanctions.

Reza Zarrab sexually assaulted Faouzi Jaber, who pleaded guilty in July to trafficking guns and drugs to FARC revolutionaries in Colombia, while the two were cellmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center between November 2016 and March 10, 2017, according to Jaber's suit. According to a media report, the decision was taken as a measure to prevent Zarrab from smuggling his property outside Turkey. Zarrab also wired money to Jaber's family in Africa, the suit says.

Their small cell "became a kind of a torture chamber" where Zarrab allegedly shoved a cucumber into Jaber's anus in March, causing him to bleed from his rectum.

The inmate, who is in his early 60s, "felt helpless and unable to fight off the younger and stronger" man, the suit says, adding that the inmate was also "too scared and embarrassed at that time to complain or to seek help".

But the relationship turned sour when Zarrab started sticking his finger in Jaber's anus, according to the lawsuit filed by Jaber's lawyer Alexei Schacht.

That prompted prison officials to move Zarrab to solitary confinement, the suit claims.

"The allegations are outrageous and false from a source that is not remotely credible", Zarrab's attorney, Robert Anello, said Thursday.

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A Turkish gold trader testifying for USA prosecutors in the trial of an executive at Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, who is charged with helping Iran evade US sanctions, said Tuesday that he and the banker never liked each other.

His cooperation with the U.S. has angered Erdoğan, who has has stated publicly that Atilla's trial is being orchestrated by his political enemies, including a Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a coup against him previous year. Prosecutors disclosed last week that Zarrab pled guilty in October to helping Iran avoid sanctions and bribing a guard.

Zarrab hired a private lawyer for Jaber and in September 2016 put money in Jaber's commissary account, the suit says.

"The timing of this is coincidental", he said. Zarrab said he used the guard's phone to speak with his wife, daughter and lawyer.

The inmate has not been identified because he is an alleged sexual assault victim, The New York Times reported.

Erdogan has condemned the prosecution and on Saturday proclaimed, "My country can never be condemned by virtual courts set up by FETO (Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation) scoundrels, fake representatives".

A spokeswoman for the United States attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment.

Star witness in Iran case sexually brutalized his cellmate: lawsuit