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Iran court begins trial of prison officials charged with murdering detainees

[JURIST] An Iranian court on Tuesday began the trial of 12 Iranian prison officials accused of torturing three prisoners to death, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) [official website, in Persian]. The three victims, identified as Mohsen Rouholamini, Mohammad Kamrani, and Amir Javadifar, were arrested for their involvement in the protests following the June 12 presidential election [JURIST news archive]. The names of the defendants are unknown because the presiding judge has prevented [Tehran Times report] any trial information from being disclosed. The 12 Kahrizak prison officials were charged [JURIST report] with murder in December. 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.

Observers have accused the Iranian government of conducting the trial as a mere political move. In January, an Iranian parliamentary inquiry found [JURIST report] that Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was responsible for the deaths. The report alleged that Mortazavi, the prosecutor responsible for overseeing the Kahrizak prison, ordered that the prisoners be transferred to Kahrizak, where they were tortured and beaten to death. Last month, the US government and EU issued a joint statement [JURIST report] condemning the human rights violations following the presidential election. In December, 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.

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