[JURIST] The Iranian government announced Saturday that murder charges have been brought against prison officials in connection with the deaths of three detainees involved in protests that followed the June 12 presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Twelve officials will face murder charges [Tehran Times report], with three facing the charge of premeditated murder for their role in the incidents. The Iranian government acknowledged [JURIST report] in August that the detainees had been tortured, yet initially claimed that the three men had died from meningitis. The prison coroner later found that the physical abuse was the sole cause of death for all three prisoners. Critics believe [CNN report] that the charges are merely a political move by the Iranian government.
The Iranian government has faced significant international scrutiny for its handling of the protests, which included thousands of arrests. Last week, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] labeled [JURIST report] the human rights violations committed by the Iranian government following the election among the worst of the past 20 years. In September, human rights groups called for [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly [official website] to appoint a special envoy to investigate allegations of the violations. Alleged human rights abuses of detainees include sexual assault, beatings, and forced confessions [JURIST reports].