U.N. experts say Iran tortured to extract confessions

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Three independent United Nations human rights experts have accused Iran of torturing confessions from detainees charged with fomenting political unrest, the international organization said Thursday.

"No judicial system can consider as valid a confession obtained as a result of harsh interrogations or under torture," said Manfred Nowak, who is the U.N. special rapporteur on torture.

The treatment of detainees at Iran's prisons has increasingly become a divisive issue within Iran's Islamic leadership, as reformists continue to accuse the hardline government of allowing abuse and torture in attempts to coerce false confessions.

Iranian officials have denied the allegations.

"These confessions for alleged crimes such as threats against national security and treason must not, under any circumstances, be admitted as evidence by the Revolutionary Court," said El Hadji Malick Sow, vice chairman of the U.N.'s working group on arbitrary detention.

The United Nations, in a news release, said the statements also reflect the position of Margaret Sekaggya, special U.N. rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.


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