Iran's Judiciary forces journalists to say they weren't tortured:
The Iranian judiciary is using threats of lengthy prison sentences and coerced televised statements in an attempt to cover up its arbitrary detention and torture of internet journalists and civil society activists, Human Rights Watch said today. Since September, more than 20 internet journalists and civil society activists have been arrested and held in a secret detention center in Tehran. Most have since been released on bail. In a public letter to President Mohammed Khatami on December 10, the father of one of those detained, Ali Mazroi—who is also president of the Association of Iranian Journalists and a former member of parliament—implicated the judiciary in the torture and secret detention of the detainees. Immediately afterwards, the chief prosecutor of Tehran, Judge Saeed Mortazavi, filed charges against Mazroi for libel. On December 11, Mortazavi ordered the detention of three of the released detainees—Omid Memarian, Shahram Rafizadeh and Ruzbeh Mir Ebrahimi—as witnesses for the prosecution in the case. These three journalists and Javad Gholam Tamayomi, a journalist who has been in detention since October 18, were brought to Mortazavi’s office. Mortazavi threatened the four detainees with lengthy prison sentences if they did not deny Mazroi’s allegations. They were interrogated for three consecutive days for eight hours each day. On December 14, the four detainees were brought in front of a televised “press conference” arranged by Judge Mortazavi, and forced to deny that they had been subjected to solitary confinement, torture and ill-treatment during their earlier detention. That evening, Iran’s government-controlled television news broadcast videotapes that showed the four detainees saying that their jailors treated them as “gently as flowers.”


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