Iran bans torture and forced confessions

The head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, signs the ban in order to boost transparency in the legal system and uphold the presumption of innocence. In the past, the UN, Western countries and NGOs have repeatedly criticised Iran for human rights abuses and violations.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran has banned the use of torture, forced confessions, solitary confinement, and illegal pre-trial police custody in order to end abuses and violations against suspects and defendants.

Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Justice of Iran and head of the Judiciary, signed the order, which was published by Mizan Online, the Judiciary’s news agency.

The order strongly emphasises the importance of transparency in the judicial process, including the defendant’s right to freely choose a lawyer and the presumption of innocence, which must apply to any accused and any crime. The order also guarantees consular access for foreign nationals.

Analysts and experts stress the importance of the order. Hitherto, Iran has been accused of gross human rights violations by the United Nations and several Western states, as well as human rights organisations and Iranian lawyers for infringing upon the rights of defendants.

The order comes a week after a video went viral showing police officers brutally beating a group of inmates in a pickup truck in a street. Shot probably in a Tehran neighbourhood, the video shows the prisoners forced to apologise for their "mistakes" and beg for forgiveness.

With respect to the incident, Ayatollah Raisi said that the police action was a "clear case of violation of civil rights".

According to Mizan Online, the chief justice also ordered disciplinary measures against those responsible for the beating, stating that it is “strictly forbidden to attack the accused, even if they are thugs.”

Raisi, 59, ran against Hassan Rouhani in the 2017 presidential election. He is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and has headed the Judiciary since March 2019, tasked with reforming one of the most criticised and corrupted institutions of the Islamic Republic.

In early September, the execution of a famous wrestler, Navid Afkari (pictured), caused outrage around the world since his “confession" was allegedly extorted under torture. 

According to several experts on Iran, Raisi is likely to represent the right-wing camp in the 2021 presidential election.

Since he took over the Judiciary, Iranian media have covered several high-profile and successful cases against "economic corruption" and prevarication and abuse within the judicial authority itself.