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Iran TV 'confessions' breach suspects' rights warn Amnesty

Amnesty International today expressed concern that recent televised “confessions” by five Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and seven men on Iranian state television may result in them facing the death penalty.

On 6 August the 12 detainees appeared in a documentary on Iranian state television channel IRTV1 called “Terror Club”. The documentary showed them “confess” to alleged involvement in the killings of five Iranian nuclear scientists and academics as far back as 2010.

The group said they had received weeks of military and intelligence training in Israel before carrying out the assassinations in Iran. The documentary did not show any evidence to support these claims, nor did it state whether they have been tried.

Televised “confessions” have repeatedly been used by the authorities in Iran to incriminate individuals in custody. Many have later retracted these “confessions”, stating that they were coerced to make them, sometimes under torture or other ill-treatment.

Amnesty International said:

“The use of televised “confessions” grossly undermines a person’s right to a fair trial.   Such ‘confessions’ are particularly disturbing in cases like this one where defendants are accused of crimes which could lead to their being sentenced to death and executed.

“We call on the Iranian authorities to ensure that these 12 men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights receive fair trials in accordance with human rights law, and to remove the threat of execution immediately.”

Amnesty is also concerned that the 12 detainees have been held incommunicado since June 2012, without access to their relatives or to lawyers. 

Incommunicado detention facilitates torture or other ill-treatment which may be used to coerce a detainee into making a “confession” which may subsequently be used as evidence in court.  Prolonged incommunicado detention can itself amount to torture.

Notes to the Editor

  1.  One of the men who “confessed” was founder of a cinema and television production company in Iraqi Kurdistan Mazyar Ebrahimi.  He was arrested in Tehran by Ministry of Intelligence security forces for “reasons of national security” in June this year. Since then his family has not been informed of his whereabouts since and have not been able to contact him. Mr Ebrahimi has also been denied access to a lawyer of his choosing since his arrest because his case is still considered to be “under investigation”.
  2.  The other 11 who appeared in the documentary are Behzad Abdoli; Firouz Yeganeh; Maryam Zargar; Ramtin Mahdavi Moshayi; Arash Kheyratgir; Maryam Izadi; Fouad Faramarzi; Nashmin Zareh; Mohsen Sedeghi-Azad; Ayoub Moslem; and Tara Bagheri.   
  3. The documentary also reported that 20 people had been arrested in connection with the killings but only 12 appeared to make “confessions”.

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