July 23, 2005

Iran report says rights violations common in prison

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An unprecedented report from Iran's
conservative judiciary acknowledged that human rights
violations were widespread in prisons, the ISNA students news
agency said on Saturday.

According to ISNA, the report said prisoners faced solitary
confinement, torture, unwarranted arrest and possibly sexual
harassment when detained by Iran's judiciary, military and

Iran's former reformist-dominated parliament last year
wrote into law an order from Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud
Hashemi-Shahroudi that banned torture and solitary confinement.

"Any kind of torture used to extract confessions ... is
banned and confessions made under such circumstances are not
legal," the legislation said.

But the judicial report, parts of which were shared with
ISNA, said the legislation had been ignored in several cases.

"The report accepts that torture and solitary confinement
exist in detention centers and asks for measures to address
this," wrote ISNA.

The report said a detention center run by the conservative
Revolutionary Guard had refused to admit inspectors.

The judiciary says it has the right to oversee all
detention centers, but some security and military groups bar

Iran's constitution specifically outlaws the use of
torture, but human rights groups say the Islamic Republic's
security forces routinely use it to extract confessions.

Several journalists and political dissidents have said they
were forced to make false confessions and were mistreated in

ISNA said Abbasali Alizadeh, the head of Tehran's judicial
department, who also heads a committee overseeing anti-torture
legislation had shared the report with the agency.

Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad was not immediately
able to confirm details of the report to Reuters but said that
he would check facts with Alizadeh.