Thursday, 20 August 2009

AFP: UN rights experts warn Iran over torture

GENEVA — Iran's Revolutionary Court must reject confessions of political opponents extracted under torture or harsh interrogation, three UN human rights experts warned Iran on Thursday.

In a joint statement, the experts said they were continuing to receive reports of deaths in custody and of torture of opponents arrested during the wave of protests in Iran.

"No judicial system can consider as valid a confession obtained as a result of harsh interrogations or under torture," said the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak.

"These confessions for alleged crimes such as threats against national security
and treason must not, under any circumstances, be admitted as evidence by the Revolutionary Court," added El Hadji Malick Sow, vice-chair of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Both experts, together with Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteur on human rights defenders, expressed alarm at "consistent allegations of severe practices of torture to obtain confessions."

Those allegedly targetted included opposition figures, lawyers, journalists and human rights activists.

The UN human rights office said reports of people dying in custody continue to be received, and their families were given "false or contradictory" information on the cause of deaths.
Many detainees were held without being charged and denied family visits, legal assistance or medical treatment, the statement added.
Iran is in the grip of a bitter political crisis triggered by the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which the opposition claims was rigged.
Iran's powerful conservative camp rejected on Wednesday claims that election protesters were raped in custody and issued a stern warning to opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi for raising the allegations.
About 4,000 opposition supporters, including reformists and journalists, were arrested during recent protests, officials said.
Most have been released, but around 200 remain behind bars and some 110 have been put on trial.
Another Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi dismissed them as a "show trials"

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