Iran holds 10 policemen in jail abuse case

Iran holds 10 policemen in jail abuse case

TEHRAN, Sept 30 — Iran has so far detained ten policemen who worked at a jail where protesters were held and mistreated after a disputed election in June, a semi-official news agency reported today.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in July ordered the closure of Kahrizak detention centre south of Tehran, following reports of abuse of people who were arrested in street unrest that followed the presidential poll.

At least three people died in custody there and widespread anger erupted as news spread of conditions in the jail. The authorities said in August the head of Kahrizak had been jailed, as well as three policemen who beat detainees.

“Ten policemen who had responsibilities at Kahrizak jail have so far been detained,” police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam told reporters, according to Mehr News Agency, adding that their case should not be politicised.

An MP who heads a parliamentary investigative committee, Parviz Sarvari, said more than 100 lawsuits had been filed with the judiciary against people in connection with incidents at Kahrizak, including a few judges, Hamshahri newspaper said.

Hamshahri quoted a second member of parliament, Farhad Tajari, as saying the judiciary was determined to hold a trial over what happened there at the “first appropriate time”.

One of the defeated presidential candidates in June’s election, pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi, angered hardliners in August by saying some some detained protesters had been raped. The authorities have dismissed this allegation.

Karoubi and opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, who finished second, say the poll was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. Officials reject the charge.

The election and its turbulent aftermath plunged Iran into deep internal crisis. Rights groups say thousands of people, including senior pro-reform figures, were arrested after the poll, though most have been freed.

Iran has begun mass trials of more than 100 people, including former top officials, charged with fomenting huge opposition protests after the vote.

Alireza Avaie, head of Tehran’s justice department, said preliminary verdicts had been issued in the cases of twenty detained people accused of stoking post-election unrest.

“These verdicts were not finalised yet and they have the right to appeal,” he was quoted as saying by Javan newspaper.

The opposition says more than 70 people were killed in the unrest. Officials estimate the death toll at up to 36 people including members of the state’s Islamic Basij militia.

Hardliners have portrayed the opposition protests as a foreign-backed bid to undermine Iran’s Islamic system of government. — Reuters

Malaysian Insider

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