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Iran: detainees subjected to torture and ill-treatment to extract confessions, warn UN Experts
GENEVA – Three independent United Nations experts expressed their serious concern over reports of detainees being subjected to torture and harsh interrogations to obtain confessions which are being used in the recently started trials at the Revolutionary Court.
Malick El Hadji Sow, Vice-Chairperson of the Working Group on arbitrary detention; Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders said that the accused include lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders, as well as members of the opposition, who have gone to the streets in protest of the presidential elections held on 12 June.
“No judicial system can consider as valid a confession obtained as a result of harsh interrogations or under torture,” expressed the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, stressing the alarm raised by the three human rights experts over consistent allegations of severe practices of torture to obtain confessions.
“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, the Vice-Chairperson of the Working Group on arbitrary detention.
No foreign media have been allowed to cover the trials and it is unclear whether the defendants have adequate legal counsel. In addition, many detainees remain in incommunicado detention, without any charges and denied family visits, legal assistance or medical treatment.
Reports of people who have died in custody continue to be received, and their families are given false or contradictory information regarding the cause of their deaths.
This statement follows those issued on 19 June and 7 July, where independent UN experts voiced their grave concern about the use of excessive police force, arbitrary arrests and killings in Iran and called upon the Government to uphold its international human rights obligations.
August 13, 2009