Main Menu
Human Trafficking
Street Children

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                    

Islamic Republic of Iran

Former detainees have reported being beaten during arrest and subjected to torture until they confess to crimes dictated by their interrogators. Some crimes can be formally punished with lashes in addition to imprisonment or fines. Prisons are overcrowded, and prisoners often complain of poor detention conditions, including denial of medical care.

.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Iran

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Iran.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Family Says Son Died After Torture By Iranian Security Agents

Ardeshir Tayebi, based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

[accessed 9 Dec 2022]

The family of a 22-year-old Iranian protester says their son has died in a detention center after being tortured for hours following his arrest during a protest in the western Iranian city of Dehgolan.

The protests, which have snowballed into one of the biggest threats to the clerical establishment that has ruled since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, started after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died on September 16, three days after being detained in Tehran by the morality police for allegedly breaching Iran's strict rules on head scarves.

Activist reports also indicate that hundreds of people have been arrested and scores injured, with many people missing after being detained by security forces.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Iran

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 25 July 2021]


There were reports of politically motivated abductions during the year attributed to government officials. Plainclothes officials seized lawyers, journalists and activists without warning, and government officials refused to acknowledge custody or provide information on them. In most cases the government made no efforts to prevent, investigate, or punish such acts.


Although the constitution prohibits all forms of torture “for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information,” use of physical and mental torture to coerce confessions remained prevalent, especially during pretrial detention. There were credible reports that security forces and prison personnel tortured and abused detainees and prisoners throughout the year.

Commonly reported methods of torture and abuse in prisons included threats of execution or rape, forced tests of virginity and “sodomy,” sleep deprivation, electroshock, including the shocking of genitals, burnings, the use of pressure positions, and severe and repeated beatings.

Human rights organizations frequently cited some prison facilities, including Evin Prison in Tehran, Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, Greater Tehran Penitentiary, Qarchak Prison, Adel Abad Prison, and Orumiyeh Prison for their use of cruel and prolonged torture of political opponents, particularly Wards 209 and Two of Evin Prison, reportedly controlled by the IRGC.


Prison conditions were harsh and life threatening due to food shortages, gross overcrowding, physical abuse, and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care. Prisoner hunger strikes in protest of their treatment were frequent.

Physical Conditions: Overcrowding, long a problem in prisons with many prisoners forced to sleep on floors, in hallways, or in prison yards, became particularly acute following mass arrests during the November 2019 protests, according to comments by local government officials referenced in a July report by UNSR Rehman.

Iranian Mullahs' Torture Epidemic: UN, EU, Biden Administration Continue Appeasing Anyhow

Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone Institute, International Policy Council, 2 September 2021

[accessed 2 September 2021]

There are reports of slow public hangings-to-death on cranes, amputations of fingers by special guillotines, electric shocks, and rape, in addition to various methods of torture such as flogging, amputation, beating detainees with cables, sticks, rubber hosepipes, knives, batons, punching and kicking and forcing political prisoners into stress positions for a long period of time, and depriving them of water, food and medical care. Navid Afkari, the champion wrestler who was executed last year, wrote in a letter:

"For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures. They would beat me with sticks and batons, hitting my arms, legs, abdomen, and back. They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death. They also poured alcohol into my nose."

In another instance, a man was tied to a tree in public and flogged 80 times for having drunk alcohol a decade earlier, when he was 14 or 15. An accused thief, who allegedly stole some livestock, saw his hand cut off.

Tehran Prison Abuse Revealed In Security Footage Leak

Stuart Greer, RFE/RL's Radio Farda, 24 August 2021

[accessed 24 August 2021]

A self-described hacking group has called for nationwide protests in Iran and the release of political prisoners after it obtained security-camera footage showing abuses at Tehran's notorious Evin prison. Videos sent to RFE/RL's Radio Farda and other media by the group, Edalat-e Ali (Ali's Justice), showed guards beating and dragging prisoners. In a rare admission, the head of the country's prisons apologized for the "unacceptable behavior" and promised "to deal seriously with the wrongdoers." (Warning: this video contains disturbing content)

Bodies of 'beaten and tortured' Afghans recovered at Iran border

Officials allege 55 migrants were forced into a river by Iran's border guards, with some of them beaten and tortured

Agence France-Presse AFP, 8 May 2020

[accessed 10 May 2020]

"Out of 55 Afghan migrants who were forced into the river, we have so far recovered 18 bodies," Abdul Ghani Noori, the governor of Gulran district bordering Iran, told AFP news agency.

He said six migrants were still missing while others survived. The bodies "bear signs of beating and torture," Noori said.

"Based on the accounts of survivors and the marks on the bodies of the victims, they were first lashed with wire cables by the Iranian border guards and then forced at gunpoint to jump into the river," he said.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission said last week the Iranian guards made the migrants cross the Harirud river and "as a result, a number of them drowned".

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 17 May 2020]


Former detainees have reported being beaten during arrest and subjected to torture until they confess to crimes dictated by their interrogators. Some crimes can be formally punished with lashes in addition to imprisonment or fines. Prisons are overcrowded, and prisoners often complain of poor detention conditions, including denial of medical care. Hunger strikes by political prisoners to protest mistreatment in custody remained common in 2019.

Woman wins $36 million claim over Iran prison torture

Paul Peachey, The National, 13 September 2018

[accessed 16 September 2018]

Businesswoman says she was tortured and threatened with execution at Evin jail

Ms Azadeh was interrogated every day for six weeks, pushed down a flight of stairs and left with a dislocated shoulder. She was whipped by one jailer who told her “he enjoyed seeing her suffer,” according to court documents. At one point she was falsely told that her mother, who lived in Iran, had died. Her fiancé was also detained.

During the sustained period of torture, she was twice blindfolded, bundled into a car and lined up against a wall.

“She heard instructions being given to a firing squad to fire after which she heard several gun shots,” the court papers said. “The last thought she had was: ‘I am going to die and no one will know’.

Former political prisoner murdered under torture

Iran Human Rights Monitor HRM, 10 June 2018

[accessed 10 June 2018]

A former political prisoner from Oshnavieh, was killed under torture after being arrested and transferred to the Detention Center of Khoy’s city. Rahman Ghorbani was arrested on Saturday June 2, 2018 by the security forces of Iran and transferred to Khoy city’s Detention Center. According to an informed source, Ghorbani lost his life due to numerous electric baton strikes and heart failure during the torture.

Iran detains ex-prosecutor convicted in 2009 torture case

Nasser Karimi, Associated Press AP, Tehran, 22 April 2018

[accessed 24 April 2018]

[accessed 4 January 2019]

Iranian police have arrested a former prosecutor known as the “torturer of Tehran,” who faces a two-year jail term over the death of prisoners following protests in 2009, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Canada has blamed Mortazavi for the death in custody of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in 2003. Iranian reformists accused Mortazavi of trying to stage a cover-up because it was he who reported that Kazemi had died of a stroke.

A government committee probing her death later found that she had died of a fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage from a blow to the head. No charges were filed against Mortazavi.

UN rights investigator decries Iran clampdown, torture, floggings

Channel NewsAsia, 05 Mar 2018

[accessed 24 March 2018]

[accessed 4 January 2019]

FLOGGINGS, AMPUTATIONS -- Jahangir called for a halt to flogging and amputations. More than 100 flogging sentences were handed down in Iran last year, 50 of which are believed to have been carried out, as well as five out of 19 sentences of amputation, she said.

Life inside Iran’s prisons: Ex-inmate reveals torture in cells as Brit Nazanin loses hope

Vickiie Oliphant, Sunday Express, 25 November 2017

[accessed 25 November 2017]

Although only locked up for a week, he claims he suffered horrific treatment while inside - including depriving him of food, light and suffering from beatings.

He said he was kept in solitary confinement for his whole sentence, and they didn't give him anything to eat and just water to drink.   He said: "The place was so small, two meters by two meters. I didn't know if it was day or night, dark and dirty but when birds started to sing I thought it was morning.   "They even didn't let me sleep.   "Every morning I heard that some people were lashed and screaming from another part of the prison. The lashing had continued until noon."

And he was repeatedly interrogated, with prison guards trying "to play good cop bad cop role".

'Stuck in a black hole of evil': My torture in same Iranian prison as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Marina Nemat, a former prisoner, Sky News, 14 November 2017

[accessed 14 November 2017]

They tied me to the bare wooden bed. I was lying down on my stomach. They lashed the soles of my feet with a length of cable that looked like a garden hose but was not hollow.   This is the most common method of torture in the Middle East. Why? Because our nerve ends are in our feet.

With every strike, my nervous system would explode, and then it was magically put back together again, and I was wide awake for the next.   A place beyond pain.   I began to count the strikes, but I forgot how to count. They eventually stopped beating me and made me sit up.   I looked at my feet, and I laughed out loud. My feet looked like overgrown party balloons with toes on them, indigo blue. I looked like a cartoon character. They thought I was resisting, so they beat me more.

Torture is not really designed to get information, because the tortured tells the torturer what he wants to hear; torture is designed to kill the human soul.”

Iranian Resistance calls for international inquiry into torture of Sunni political prisoners before execution

Iran Focus, London, 17 August 2016

[accessed 17 August 2016]

Their statement read: “The execution of political prisoners, particularly after their brutal torture, is a crime against humanity toward which silence is absolutely unacceptable.”

It then goes on to describe the horrors that these Sunni prisoners were subject to. The day before their execution, the prisoners were led out in shackles with bags over their head.

The statement said: “[When the families went to see their relatives at the morgue, the bodies of their relatives] were blue and black from the beatings, the hands and feet of some of them were broken, and their bones had stuck out.”

Marine veteran sues Iran for being tortured as hostage

Jeff Schogol, Marine Corps Times, 10 May 2016

[accessed 10 August 2016]

For the first 17 months, Hekmati was kept in solitary confinement in a small cell where the Iranians whipped the bottoms of his feet, tased him in the kidney area, put him in stress positions for hours, hit him with batons, threw water on his floor to keep him from sleeping and kept a bright light on 24 hours a day to induce sensory deprivation, his lawsuit says.

 “Mr. Hekmati’s captors would force him to take lithium and other addictive pills and then stop giving him the pills to invoke withdrawal symptoms,” the lawsuit says. “He was denied proper medical care and suffered severe malnutrition.”

After spending more time in solitary confinement, the Iranians moved Hekmati to another prison where the inmates were mostly “drug dealers and hardened criminals,” the lawsuit says.

“His conditions were even more brutal. His cell was infested with rats, which he had to kill himself using a broomstick. His skin was eaten by lice, fleas and bed bugs. He suffered from recurring lung infections and constant stomach problems due to malnutrition.”

IRAN: Young worker killed under torture after being arrested during New Year festivities

Foreign Affairs Committee, National Council of Resistance of Iran NCRI, 23 March 2015

[accessed 7 April 2015]

Mr. Mohsen Maleki, 25, who worked in a sweet shop was arrested on March 17, but his body was handed over to his family the next day with fractures, hematomas and injuries covering his face and various parts of his body.   According to eye-witnesses, he was completely healthy before his arrest.

Every year since 2011, the security forces had routinely summoned Mr. Maleki to police headquarters prior to the Fire Festival to threaten him not to hold the ceremony.   This year, following his summoning by regime elements, Mr. Maleki refused to report to the police headquarters.   Subsequently, he was apprehended by elements of the security forces and transferred to the security forces’ headquarters.   Hours after arrest, he lost his life due to the battering and savage torture he suffered at the hands of officers.

Iran: Juvenile offender to be executed in a week gives harrowing torture account

Amnesty International News, 12 February 2015

[accessed 29 March 2015]

[accessed 27 July 2017]

A young Iranian man set to be hanged on 19 February gave a harrowing account of how, as a teenager, officials tortured him for 97 days to make him “confess” to a crime, before sentencing him to death.

In a letter seen by Amnesty International, Saman Naseem, now 22 years old, described how he was kept in a 2 x 0.5 metre cell and constantly tortured before being forced while blindfolded to put his fingerprints on “confession” papers. He was forced to admit to acts that lead to his conviction for membership of an armed opposition group and taking up arms against the state. He was 17 years old at the time

“During the first days, the level of torture was so severe that it left me unable to walk. All my body was black and blue. They hung me from my hands and feet for hours. I was blindfolded during the whole period of interrogations and torture, and could not see the interrogation and torture officers.”

“They repeatedly told me that they had arrested my family members including my father, my mother, and my brother. They told me that they would kill me right there and would cover my grave with cement. When I wanted to sleep during nights, they would not let me rest by making noises using different devices, including by constantly banging on the door. I was in a state between madness and consciousness. I could not have any contact with my family during this time. During the trial, even the presiding judge threatened me with more beatings a number of times and my lawyers were removed under pressure.”

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION - Scores of people held for their affiliation with banned opposition parties, labor unions, and student groups were in prison. The judiciary continued to target independent and unregistered trade unions. On May 1, police attacked and arrested at least 25 workers who were protesting poor wages and labor conditions outside the Labor Ministry and a Tehran bus terminal. Police took the workers to Evin Prison before releasing them. Several of them face charges related to illegal gathering.

Hardline former judge in Iran disbarred over torture deaths of protesters

The Associated Press AP, Tehran, 16 November 2014

[accessed 26 January 2015]

A parliament probe in 2011 found Mortazavi responsible in the torturing to death of at least three anti-government protesters detained during mass protests in the wake of Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009. At the time, he was responsible for Kahrizak prison in the Iranian capital Tehran.

Iranian Agents Allegedly Kidnap and Torture Activist in Netherlands

KRmagazine, Latest News, Middle East and North Africa, 18 March 2014

[accessed 21 March 2014]

[accessed 4 January 2019]

An Ahwazi Arab-Iranian poet and human rights activist living in the Netherlands, Mr. Saeed Mousa Mosavi, was kidnapped and beaten by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran after he returned to his home in the evening.

According to a report by Karim Dahimi that was widely reported in Farsi, on March 6, 2014, Mosavi stated that during his ordeal, he was stripped naked, videotaped and tortured with electric shocks. The agents apparently knew about Mosavi’s daily activities, and interrogated him about Ahwazi activists who had visited him at his home. He was also questioned about several specific Iranian-Arab activists.

The assault on Mosavi is not the first time an Ahwazi activist has been targeted by the Iranian regime outside Iran. Previously in the Netherlands, the house of another Iranian Ahwazi was set on fire after he was directly threatened by agents of the Iranian government.

Pastor Saeed After Beatings and Torture: “I did not recognize myself”

Jordan Sekulow, The American Center for Law and Justice ACLJ, Iran, 22 March 2013

[accessed 23 March 2013]

Pastor Saeed writes that he cannot even recognize himself after all the beatings and torture he has endured: “My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen, and my beard had grown.”

After multiple beatings in interrogations at the hands of the radical Islamic regime, Pastor Saeed wrote that the nurse who was supposed to treat injured inmates told him “‘in our religion we are not suppose to touch you, you are unclean. . . . Christians are unclean!’”  He explained, “they would not give me the pain medication that they would give other prisoners because I was unclean.”

Hell Holes: Torture, starvation and murder the norm at world’s worst gulags

Perry Chiaramonte, Fox News, 1 March 2013

[accessed 2 March 2013]

EVIN HOUSE OF DETENTION, IRAN - Nicknamed Evin University for the large amounts of academic and political prisoners held there, Evin prison is one of the world’s most brutal detention facilities.

“When you clear the gates, you are immediately blindfolded and brought underground,” Marina Nemat, a former inmate, told in a previous article about Evin. “They take you for interrogation. They take you to a hallway and sit you down. You are there for a long time. If you move or say anything you are beaten. You must sit perfectly still, while still blindfolded, and you can wait for hours, days or even weeks.”

Former inmates tell of being rousted from their cells in the night, blindfolded and taken before firing squads, only to get a last minute "reprieve," and be returned  to their cages. Closed-circuit televisions show religious propaganda and recorded confessions from the leaders of opposition groups who had broken under torture, and food is scarce.

Iran steps up arrests, torture, executions: U.N.

Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, Geneva, 28 February 2013

[accessed 15 Aug  2013]

Iran has stepped up executions of prisoners including juveniles as well as arrests of dissidents who are often tortured in jail, sometimes to death, the United Nations reported on Thursday.

In twin reports issued in Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. special investigator on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, voiced concern at what they called an apparent rise in the frequency and gravity of abuses in Iran.

"The Secretary-General remains deeply troubled by reports of increasing numbers of executions, including of juvenile offenders and in public; continuing amputations and flogging; arbitrary arrest and detention; unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment; and severe restrictions targeting media professionals, human rights defenders, lawyers and opposition activities, as well as religious minorities," Ban reported.

The Islamic Republic, which is under economic sanctions for its disputed nuclear program, has failed to investigate "widespread, systemic and systematic violations of human rights", Shaheed's report said.

He called for the "immediate and unconditional release" of detained human rights advocates, journalists and lawyers.

A prisoner killed under torture

National Council of Resistance of Iran NCRI, 10 February 2013

[accessed 11 February 2013]

He was in his father’s house in Genaveh in mid January when Revolutionary Guards raided the house, arrested him and transferred to Genaveh prison. He was tortured in Genaveh prison for two days and then transferred to Borazjan city prison.

In Borazjan prison he was transferred to solitary confinement after 12 days of torture.

Three days later while he was quite ill and his body deeply infected because of the wounds, he was transferred to the hospital and his family was told that they could visit him in hospital in Borazjan.

To his family’s surprise, Amir was unconscious and his body was mostly infected and covered by bruises.

As Amir became conscious for a short period, he revealed some of the tortures he went through during the 15 days of torture.

He said he was beaten in his head by batons and in his stomach by a metal rod.

He said the strikes were so severe that all his intestines had been damaged. In the last moments of his life in the hospital, he asked if he could see his son. The severances of the injuries were so much that he died before having the chance to see his son for the last time. 

This is the fourth case of killing prisoners under torture which has surfaced in recent months. Prior to Amir, Sattar Beheshti, a blogger from Robat Karim located in the vicinity of Tehran; Keramatollah Zareian, a university student in Tehran; and Jalil Savidi, a plumber from city of Ahwaz had been killed under torture.

Student activist murdered under torture

Foreign Affairs Committee, National Council of Resistance of Iran NCRI, 12 January 2013

[accessed 12 January 2013]

Keramatollah Za’erian, 27, was studying theatre directing at Tehran University.  Prior to his last arrest in November, he had been arrested three times for his active participation in 2009 uprisings.   One month after the arrest, after killing him under torture, the MOIS agents took his body to his residence in Tehran.

The medical examiner’s report described the cause of death to be severe torture and spinal cord injury.

Kaveh Kermanshahi, Iranian Activist

Human Rights Watch, 13 Dec 2012

[accessed 13 January 2013]

The Iranian activist Kaveh Kermanshahi was free on bail in 2010 when an Iranian court sentenced him to four years in prison for his work on Kurdish and women’s rights. Kermanshahi, who was 26 at the time, decided he couldn’t return to prison, where he had been tortured, interrogated, and held in solitary confinement for four months after he was arrested earlier that year. He decided to leave Iran for Iraqi Kurdistan.

Kermanshahi had already paid a high price for his activities. He was beaten on two separate occasions by his interrogator in prison.   Once unfortunately I was severely beaten by the prosecutor himself who had come to the detention facility to inform me of the charges against me,” he said.   He didn’t think he could withstand four more years in prison – the psychological distress weighed heavily on him, and the surgeries he had for a cleft lip left him more vulnerable to the beatings that he believed would come.   He also worried about how future imprisonment would affect his family. Kermanshahi, an only child, had been “disappeared” when he was arrested. No one knew where he was. His mother and other family members repeatedly went to the prosecutor’s office and prison trying to glean information about where he was being held. In response, the authorities arrested his mother, his 75-year-old aunt, and two cousins, interrogating and threatening them for hours. They were freed only after they promised to stop trying to find out where he was.

Eventually authorities did tell his family where he was, and his mother handed over the deed to their land to post bail – a common occurrence in Iran.   The court found Kermanshahi guilty of spreading propaganda against the state as a result of his work with the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, which pressed the government to end discrimination against Kurds, and through his blog. He was also found guilty of contacting families of political prisoners.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

The security forces continued to torture and otherwise ill-treat detainees with impunity. Commonly reported methods included beatings, mock execution, threats, confinement in small spaces and denial of adequate medical treatment.

Saeed Sedeghi, a shop worker sentenced to death for drug offences, was tortured in Evin Prison after his scheduled execution was postponed following international protests. He was hanged on 22 October.

At least eight deaths in custody may have resulted from torture, but none were independently investigated.

Sattar Beheshti, a blogger, died in the custody of the Cyber Police in November after lodging a complaint that he had been tortured. Contradictory statements by officials called into question the impartiality of a judicial investigation. His family were pressured by security forces to keep silent.



Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 13 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 12 May 2020]

Ahmadinejad awarded the powerful ministries of Information and the Interior to hard-liners who had been implicated directly in the extrajudicial killings of dissidents and other egregious human rights abuses. He quickly began a wide-ranging purge of the administration, including the dismissal of 40 of Iran’s most experienced diplomats and seven state-bank directors. The president and many of the new appointees were veterans of the Iran-Iraq War.

His government also tightened restrictions on media and announced plans to impose more stringent controls. Human rights suffered, with increasing reports of arrest, torture, and execution. Sharia was more strictly enforced than under Khatami.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 13 January 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The constitution prohibits torture. In April 2004 the judiciary announced a ban on torture, and the majles passed related legislation, approved by the guardian council in May 2004. Nevertheless, there were numerous credible reports that security forces and prison personnel tortured detainees and prisoners.

On December 16, the UN General Assembly adopted a human rights resolution on Iran that expressed, among other points, serious concern at the continuing use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, such as floggings and amputations, as well as public executions. It also called on the country to uphold the moratorium on executions by stoning and legally abolish the practice.

The penal code includes provisions for the stoning, or lapidation, of women and men convicted of adultery. In 2002 the head of the judiciary announced a moratorium on stoning. There were several subsequent reports of sentences of stoning imposed by judges, including two during the year, but no proof of these sentences being carried out. A woman's rights group claimed "Fatemeh" was sentenced to stoning in May for adultery and murder. On October 15, domestic press reported that "Soghra" was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, as well as given a 15-year prison sentence for complicity in murdering her husband.

In June a court sentenced a man to have his eyes surgically removed for a crime he committed 12 years earlier, when he was 16. The Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) of the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs quoted human rights specialists as saying that while such unusual sentences were occasionally passed by Islamic courts, they were rarely implemented; rather they were used as leverage to set blood money. Nonetheless, in November domestic press reported prison authorities amputated the left foot of a convicted armed robber.

Some prison facilities, including Tehran's Evin prison, were notorious for the cruel and prolonged torture of political opponents of the government. Additionally, in recent years authorities have severely abused and tortured prisoners in a series of "unofficial" secret prisons and detention centers outside the national prison system. Common methods included prolonged solitary confinement with sensory deprivation, beatings, long confinement in contorted positions, kicking detainees with military boots, hanging detainees by the arms and legs, threats of execution if individuals refused to confess, burning with cigarettes, sleep deprivation, and severe and repeated beatings with cables or other instruments on the back and on the soles of the feet. Prisoners also reported beatings about the ears, inducing partial or complete deafness, and punching in the eyes, leading to partial or complete blindness. HRW noted that student activists were physically tortured more than critics within the system. It also noted abuse sometimes occurred in the presence of high-level judges. As reported by a radio broadcast on May 5, Judiciary Head Shahrudi complained about security forces' treatment of some detainees. He said judges must conduct interrogations and confessions without a judge present were inadmissible.

In February 2004 Amnesty International (AI) reported that it had documented evidence of "white torture," a form of sensory deprivation. Amir Abbas Fakhravar (see section 1.e.), a political prisoner, was sent to the "125" detention center, controlled by the revolutionary guards. According to AI his cell had no windows, and the walls and his clothes were white. His meals consisted of white rice on white plates. To use the toilet, he had to put a white piece of paper under the door. He was forbidden to speak, and the guards reportedly wore shoes that muffled sound. The Committee against Torture has found that sensory deprivation amounts to torture.

According to domestic press, in July Abbas Ali Alizadeh, the head of the Tehran judiciary and head of the supervisory and inspection committee to safeguard civil rights, provided Judiciary Chief Shahrudi with a detailed report, as a follow-up to Shahrudi's directive on respect for citizenship rights. This unreleased report was described in detail in the media and outlined abusive human rights practices in prisons, including blindfolding and beating suspects, detainees left in a state of uncertainty, and prolonged investigations. For example, authorities jailed a 13-year-old in the worst detention center for stealing a chicken, jailed a woman in her 80s for financial difficulties, and arrested a woman for drug charges against her husband.

Separately in July according to domestic press, the deputy national police commander for criminal investigation said police would investigate any reports of torture. He said torture was against regulations, but its existence in the criminal investigation departments was undeniable, and that forensic and scientific advances have made torture unnecessary.

In an effort to combat "un-Islamic behavior" and social corruption among the young, the government relied on a "morality" force, referred to merely as "special units" (yegan ha-ye vizhe), to complement the existing morality police, "Enjoining the Good and Prohibiting the Forbidden" (Amr be Ma'ruf va Nahi az Monkar). The new force was to assist in enforcing the Islamic Republic's strict rules of moral behavior. Credible press reports indicated members of this force chased and beat persons in the streets for offenses such as listening to music or, in the case of women, wearing makeup or clothing regarded as insufficiently modest or accompanied by unrelated men (see section 1.f.).

There was no further action in the 2004 case of the person who died in February after receiving 80 lashes, the November death of a 14-year old Kurdish boy after receiving 85 lashes, or punitive amputations in September and October

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Iran",, [accessed <date>]