Iran official acknowledges torture of election protesters

[JURIST] Iran's Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dorri Najafabadi acknowledged Saturday that some protesters arrested in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election [JURIST news archive] were tortured. He went on to say [NYT report] that the protesters should not have been taken to the Kahrizak detention center, where several protesters died while incarcerated. Following the disclosure of the use of torture, the warden of the Kahrizak detention center was arrested [DPA report] Sunday. The center was closed [Tehran Times report] on Wednesday by the order of Iran's Supreme National Security Council following the Council's review of the prison's handling of election protesters.

Iran has been experiencing turmoil in Tehran and elsewhere since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] won the election in June. In early July, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported that some arrested protesters were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with torture in an effort to force false confessions [report, text; JURIST report]. The same week, opposition leaders called for the release of those detained for their alleged involvement in the protests. The request was brought jointly by candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi [IranTracker profile; JURIST news archive] and Mehdi Karroubi along with former president Mohammad Khatami, who also called for an immediate stop to the allegedly baseless arrests of dissidents. The country's Guardian Council of the Constitution [official website, in Persian] recently certified the contested results [press release, in Persian; JURIST report], officially sanctioning the re-election of Ahmadinejad. Human rights groups have viewed the arrests as political repression [JURIST report], saying that Iranian forces are using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals."

 

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