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UN rights experts urge Iran court to reject confessions obtained through torture

[JURIST] Three UN human rights experts on Thursday called on Iran's Revolutionary Court to reject confessions obtained through torture [press release] of protesters of the country's disputed presidential election [JURIST news archive]. A joint statement from Special Rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak, Vice-Chairperson of the Working Group on arbitrary detention El Hadji Malick Sow, and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya [official websites] said that the UN continues to receive reports of torture and people dying in custody in the wake of the contested re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Nowak said, "[n]o judicial system can consider as valid a confession obtained as a result of harsh interrogations or under torture." Sow added, "[t]hese 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."

Last week, Iran's Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dorri Najafabadi acknowledged [JURIST report] that some protesters arrested after the election were tortured. Earlier this month, more than 100 protesters were put on trial [JURIST report] in proceedings closed to the media. In early July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported that some arrested protesters were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with torture in an effort to force false confessions [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 opposition 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. Human rights groups have called arrests 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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