Amnesty International details abuse of Iran protesters

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London, Dec.10 (ANI): Distressing accounts of torture, rape and brutal violence meted out to opposition supporters, before during and after the disputed June presidential elections in Iran, are detailed in a damning report from Amnesty International, reports The Independent.

Amnesty says that human rights violations in the country are as bad as at any time in the last 20 years, and adds that the authorities in Tehran are now "entrenching" the repressive methods used to intimidate protesters during the election period.

According to the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), since disputed elections on June 12, Iran has been thrown into a political crisis as protesters took to the streets to challenge what they called the fraudulent re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"The authorities have resorted to exceptionally high levels of violence and arbitrary measures to stifle protest and dissent," notes the report.

Instead of holding state agents accountable for crimes under Iran's penal code, Amnesty says, Iran's courts have been used "as part of a repressive state machinery to allow the security forces to act with impunity."

Iranian officials continue to deny that any of the more than 4,000 people arrested during the unrest were raped.

After initial denials of any deaths in custody - and a number of contradictory statements on the issue - officials have since acknowledged three deaths at the Kahrizak detention facility, which was ordered closed in late July for being substandard.

Government-sanctioned abuses have attended Iranian prisons long before the 1979 Islamic revolution, when the pro-West Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi first set up his SAVAK secret police with training from the Central Intelligence Agency and Israel's Mossad.

Prisons in the Islamic Republic have also been prone to human rights abuses, especially during episodes in the early and late 1980s when several thousand regime opponents were executed.

Political protest has always been dangerous in Iran due to the presence of unscrupulous vigilantes and militants, says Ervand Abrahamian, a historian of Iran at the City University of New York.

Amnesty International's Iran specialist, Elise Auerbach, said in a statement: "Although the authorities have done everything possible to suppress knowledge of the abuses and to further punish those victims and witnesses who courageously reported them, the massive scale of the violations is impossible to hide." (ANI)

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