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Iran judiciary chief says abuse by Iranian police as bad as "what the Americans do"

[JURIST] Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi [BBC profile], head of the Iran Judiciary [official website] took the unusual step Thursday of criticizing the treatment of criminal detainees by Iranian police, and compared their interrogation techniques to those employed by US soldiers at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive]. Shahrudi denounced what he called cases of the police issuing summons, making arrests, carrying out interrogations without authorization, and extracting confessions from suspects in violation of the republic’s constitution [text, english]. Under the constitution, in order for a confession to be proper it must occur in front of a judge. Shahrudi’s statements come one week after four Iranian webloggers arrested last year [Human Rights Watch backgrounder] wrote Shahrudi to report they have been subjected to physical and moral pressure to confess. Iran has also been involved in an ongoing dispute with the Canadian government over the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi [CBC backgrounder] who is said to have been tortured and raped [JURIST report] during her 2003 detention by Iranian authorities. AP has more.

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