ALI AKBAR DAREINI
TEHRAN, Iran - In an unprecedented report, Iran's hard-line judiciary
acknowledged widespread human rights violations in prisons, including the use
of torture, state-run media reported Sunday.
The report said prison guards and officials in detention centers have ignored
a legal order banning torture. It also said police have made several arrests
without sufficient evidence and held suspects in undeclared detention
The report, which was broadcast on state-run radio and appeared on the front
page of several newspapers, said a judicial investigation had discovered
human right violations including the "blindfolding and beating" of
defendants, a 13-year-old boy jailed for stealing a hen, a woman who was
imprisoned because her husband was a fugitive and a man who has been in
prison since 1988 with a verdict in his case.
The report has been handed over to the head of judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.
Abbas Ali Alizadeh, head
of the Tehran Justice Administration, who drafted the report, said some
detention centers run by the hard-line elite Revolutionary Guards had refused
to admit inspectors or investigate whether prisoners' human rights were being
Last year, Shahroudi ordered a ban on the use of
torture for obtaining confessions - a move seen as Iran's first public acknowledgment of
Iran's constitution specifically outlaws torture,
but human rights groups say the Islamic Republic's security forces routinely
use it to extract confessions.
Iranian hard-liners have jailed several dozen reformist journalists and
political activists and closed about 100 pro-democracy publications in the
past five years for criticizing the rule of the country's unelected clerics.
In 2003, a special U.N. envoy visited Iran, during which he said he received
"many complaints" regarding human rights violations, including
torture, from pro-reform dissidents, writers and activists.
The bleak situation in Iranian prisons was highlighted by the case of
Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who
died in jail July 2003 about three weeks after being detained for taking
photographs outside a Tehran prison during anti-government
protests. Reformers said she was beaten to death.
Hard-line officials have long denied the use of torture in Iranian detention
centers, despite complaints by intellectuals and student leaders of
intolerable physical and psychological torture while being incarcerated.
Several journalists and political dissidents have said they made false
confessions under duress.