Iran's police chief admitted today that protesters arrested after June's disputed presidential election had been tortured while in custody in a notorious prison in south-west Tehran. But he denied any of the detainees died as a result of their mistreatment.
In remarks reported by state-run media, General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said the chief of the Kahrizak detention centre had been dismissed and punished.
"The head of the centre has been sacked and jailed. Three policemen who beat detainees have been jailed as well," the official IRNA news agency quoted Moghaddam as saying.
Human rights groups had previously identified at least three detainees who they say died as a result of torture at Kahrizak, which was closed last month on the orders of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Moghaddam denied the abuses were responsible for any fatalities there, claiming an unspecified "viral illness" had caused the deaths.
Moghaddam did not name those allegedly involved in the abuse of prisoners, or give details of the charges against them. But his admission marked the second occasion in as many days that a senior official accepted that some criticisms levelled at the regime were well-founded, suggesting growing doubts and uncertainty within the embattled regime nearly two months after the poll.
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