Freedom from Torture - The report

The report

The 50 cases detailed in this report all involve torture perpetrated in the lead up to and in the weeks, months and years following Iran's presidential elections held on 12 June 2009. Together they provide an alarming insight into the brutal methods used by the Iranian authorities to terrorise those individuals – and their family members – engaged in grassroots organising prior to the elections and in the protests relating to the disputed outcome and the human rights abuses that followed.

Key Findings

  • Torture was a key tool of repression used by the Iranian authorities as part of their efforts to crush dissent in Tehran and elsewhere in the months leading up to and for an extended period following the presidential elections in June 2009;
  • This crackdown involved torture – often during multiple detention episodes – of many people for whom the 2009 presidential election period was the first time they, or other family members, had engaged in any level of political or other form of activism;
  • A wide range of physical, psychological and environmental torture methods were practised in a highly systematic way by torturers in Iran during this period;
  • Torture was often used to obtain information about individuals and networks involved in organising political or other activity deemed to be 'anti-regime' and to force people to sign what they understood to be 'confessions' or other statements which were used against them in legal proceedings or which could be so used in the future;
  • Extensive use of incommunicado detention and blindfolding or hooding meant that many survivors of torture were unable to identify the place of their detention or the identity of their interrogators and torturers; and
  • The physical and psychological harm of torture endures for the survivors and most have required medical treatment and/or psychological therapies in order to restore their functioning. A high proportion of the cases in the sample had self-harmed or made suicide attempts in the period following their torture.

Freedom from Torture is grateful to the European Union which funded the research for this report. Disclaimer: This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Freedom from Torture and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

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