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HRW claims Iran police sexually assaulted detainees held after election protests

[JURIST] Iranian officials covered up the sexual assault of detainees held after the disputed June 12 presidential election [JURIST news archive], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Friday. HRW documented [AP report] the rape and sexual assault of three protesters at the hands of Iranian security personnel, including one case which was accompanied by a medical examiner's report. HRW claims that officials at the Tehran hospital that treated a 27-year-old activist for injuries suffered while in custody, including those indicative of forced sexual contact, tried to destroy the physician's report. The allegations of detainee mistreatment came days after the arrest of 109 [Reuters report] supporters of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] during clashes with police [PBS report] at rallies held to mark the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran.

In September, an Iranian judicial panel rejected [JURIST report] similar allegations of detainee assault brought by pro-reform presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi [NYT profile] and called for the arrest of those spreading false allegations. In August, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] called for the prosecution of opposition leaders [JURIST report] who allegedly conspired to orchestrate widespread protests after the presidential election. Human rights groups have accused [JURIST report] the Iranian government of using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals."

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