Last month, a 49-year-old man named Shahin Naseri died in prison under suspicious circumstances after he provided witness testimony about the torture of wrestler Navid Afkari. Afkari, a high-profile protester, was unjustly arrested by state agents, sentenced to death following a grossly unfair trial and executed in secret in September 2020.

This is not an isolated incident. In August, footage released from Tehran’s Evin Prison showed horrific scenes of torture and other ill treatment. Iranian officials characterized the abuses as the acts of rogue prison guards. But Amnesty International and other human rights groups have repeatedly shown that torture and other forms of cruel and unhuman treatment are an integral part of the Iranian criminal justice system, not an exception to it. The international community must act now to break the cycle of state violence.

Last month, Amnesty International revealed the failure of the Iranian authorities to provide accountability for the suspicious deaths in custody of at least 72 men and women in the past decade, despite credible reports indicating the cause to be torture, the lethal use of force or other violence by officials. Young people made up a significant proportion of the victims. Since the publication of Amnesty International’s findings on Sept. 15, the organization has received reports of four further suspicious deaths in custody.

Amnesty International’s findings underscore that prosecution authorities, prison officials and security and intelligence agents in Iran commit torture and other forms of ill treatment against men, women and children behind bars on a widespread and systematic basis and with total impunity. Judges contribute to these abuses by dismissing allegations of torture without ordering independent investigations and doling out guilty verdicts based on torture-tainted “confessions.”

Iran’s torture epidemic has been sustained by a culture of impunity that has enabled officials who are reasonably suspected of responsibility for crimes under international law and gross violations of human rights to avoid justice and, instead, rise to powerful positions. The recent rise to the presidency of Ebrahim Raisi — who has been credibly implicated in crimes against humanity — offers yet another grim reminder of this dire situation.

Source » iranbriefing