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Iran closes notorious Tohid prison after protests

TEHRAN, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Iran's notorious Tohid prison, run by the intelligence ministry, has been closed down, newspapers on Thursday quoted a reformist parliamentarian as saying.

``The intelligence minister ordered the closure of the (prison)...and nobody was held there when our delegation visited,'' the daily Aftab-e Yazd quoted Ali Akbar Mousavi-Khoeini as saying. Other newspapers carried similar reports.

He said many former detainees, including students arrested after the July 1999 unrest, had protested about the behaviour of prison interrogators and parliament was investigating the reports.

Some student leaders had earlier written open letters protesting about the use of torture, including repeated beatings and lashings, to extract confessions.

Two reformist newspapers which had carried details of one such letter were later closed down by the hardline-dominated judiciary.

``If the allegations are true, legal action has to be taken and the perpetrators punished in such a manner that nobody will ever again dare to mistreat suspects,'' said Mousavi-Khoeini.

He said the parliamentary delegation, which visited the major prisons in Tehran, was denied access to pro-democracy firebrand Akbar Ganji, who was jailed earlier this year and remains in prison without trial.


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