Rights group: Beatings force confessions in Iran

CAIRO (AP) — Iranian authorities are using beatings, sleep deprivation and long interrogations to force confessions from those detained in the country’s postelection turmoil, an international human rights group said Wednesday. Human Rights Watch said in a report that the confessions appear meant to support claims by Iranian government officials that foreign powers were driving the unrest and that the protests were aimed at overthrowing the government, rather than holding a new election. Claims of fraud in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s June 12 re-election set off days of street protests that were subsequently quelled by a harsh crackdown. Iran’s reformist opposition has called for the result to be annulled and for a new election to be held. “The Iranian government is desperate to justify its vicious attacks on peaceful protesters,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch. “What better excuse does it need than confessions of foreign plots beaten out of detainees?” The group said detainees whose accounts it collected included a 17-year-old boy detained on June 27 and coerced into signing a blank confession to be filled in later by authorities. He told the group he was forced to stand in a parking garage for 48 hours with other detainees that had been rounded up. With their hands tied behind their backs and their eyes blindfolded, they were beaten repeatedly… >>>

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