[JURIST] An Iranian official announced Tuesday the release of approximately 140 people detained during violent protests following the controversial reelection [JURIST news archive] of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] has 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]. An official for the country's judiciary has also said that it plans to decide soon whether to release or try approximately 500 detainees that remain in prison after being arrested during the protests. On Monday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official website] ordered the closure of the country's Kahrizak prison, in the wake of reported abuses and deaths at the prison.
Earlier this month, opposition leaders called for the release [JURIST report] of those detained for their alleged involvement in the protests. Also this month, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) [advocacy website] reported that the number of deaths that occurred at the protests exceeded government reports [press release; JURIST report]. 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." Despite the controversy, the country's Guardian Council of the Constitution [official website, in Persian] recently certified the contested results [JURIST report], officially sanctioning the re-election of Ahmadinejad.