U.N. experts deplore alleged torture of inmates in Iran

Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:39pm GMT

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. human rights experts said on Thursday hundreds of Iranians accused of taking part in post-election protests have been tortured to obtain confessions according to detainees and people close to them.

Any evidence extracted by mistreatment should not be admitted at their trials, as it would violate international law, the United Nations investigators said in a joint statement.

Iran has charged dozens of people with spying and aiding a Western plot to overthrow its system of clerical rule following June's presidential election.

"The trials seem to be show trials ... I'm afraid people will be convicted on the basis of forced confessions," Manfred Nowak, U.N. special rapporteur on torture, told Reuters.

Moderates say the poll was rigged to secure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian authorities say the vote was the "healthiest" since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Nowak said he had brought more than 300 cases of alleged torture and ill-treatment to the attention of Iranian authorities.

"Primarily they are allegations of beatings, electric shock, physical and psychological pressure primarily aimed at extracting confessions about anti-government behaviour," the Austrian law professor said in a telephone interview.

The allegations came from ex-detainees, as well as relatives and lawyers of people still being held, he said.   Continued...

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