July 22, 2009

Detainees Coerced to Accuse Top Reformists of Crimes; Tapes to Be Televised

Human Rights Watch reported today that “Iranian authorities are coercing detained supporters of reform presidential candidates to implicate leading reformists in illegal acts.” Parleman news [Persian] is reporting that these forced confessions will be aired in the coming days on state TV.

In the aftermath of the June 12 contested presidential election, the government has arrested hundreds of political dissidents and supporters of the reformist candidates Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi. In many cases, the authorities have refused to provide information about the conditions of their detention. Some detained reformist leaders, including Mostafa Tajzadeh, Behzad Nabavi, and Hamzeh Ghalebi, have had no contact with their families since their arrests more than a month ago.
One person recently released from Tehran’s Evin prison described the situation there as “dire.” He told Human Rights Watch that prison officials had videotaped a statement by another detainee, a coordinator of Mousavi’s campaign, in which the coordinator “admitted” that Tajzadeh and other reformist politicians were responsible for the post-election “riots.”
Another former detainee who spent several weeks in Evin separately told Human Rights Watch that authorities have forced young supporters to implicate leading reformists in their “confessions.”
“I saw some prisoners with arms and legs in casts or with bruises on their body,” the former detainee told Human Rights Watch. “Some young supporters of Mousavi’s campaign were forced to make confessions against the distinguished reformists.”

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