UN rights experts concerned over torture in Iran

GENEVA - Three human rights experts working with the United Nations said Thursday they were concerned over reports from Iran of torture being used to obtain confessions about unrest that followed June’s Iranian presidential elections.

The experts said the confessions of lawyers, journalists, rights activists and members of the opposition should not be used in court against them.

“No judicial system can consider as valid a confession obtained as a result of harsh interrogations or under torture,” said Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture.

In a statement, the UN rights officials said there were detainees being held incommunicado, some without any charges filed against them. In some cases, they were denied family visits, legal assistance and medical treatment, the three alleged.

Relatives of those who died in custody were being given “false or contradictory information regarding the cause of their deaths”, the three said, adding that such reports continued to flow in.

El Hadji Malick Sow from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Margaret Sekaggya, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, were the other two issuers of the statement.

Following the controversial election process in June, which saw incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stay on for a second term, demonstrators, mostly from opposition groups, took to the streets, saying there had been electoral fraud. Security forces responded by cracking down on demonstrations.

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