Amnesty International has condemned the climate of impunity that prevails in Iran over more than 70 deaths in custody reported in the past 10 years.
"Iranian authorities have failed to provide accountability for at least 72 deaths in custody since January 2010, despite credible reports that they resulted from torture or other ill-treatment or the lethal use of firearms and tear gas by officials," AI said.
In a statement issued last Wednesday, the London-based rights group said the latest documented case concerns Yaser Mangouri, aged 31, whose death was reported to his family by ministry of intelligence officials in Urumieh, West Azerbaijan province on September 8, 2021.
Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at Amnesty International said reports of the death of Mangouri in suspicious circumstances further exposes how the prevailing climate of impunity further emboldens security forces to violate prisoners’ right to life without any fear of consequence or accountability.
“The authorities’ systemic refusal to conduct any independent investigations into these deaths in custody is a grim reflection of the normalization of the arbitrary deprivation of life by state authorities,” she noted.
In its report, AI said that since January 2010, at least 72 deaths occurred at 42 prisons and detention centers in 16 provinces across the country.
It showed that in 46 of the deaths in custody cases, informed sources reported that the death resulted from physical torture or other ill-treatment at the hands of intelligence and security agents or prison officials.
The rights group added that a further 15 followed the lethal use of firearms and/or tear gas by prison security guards to suppress prison protests over COVID-19 safety fears, also according to credible sources.
In the remaining 11 cases, the deaths occurred in suspicious circumstances, but no further details about potential causes were available. The majority of deaths recorded took place since 2015.
Last August 24, leaked surveillance footage from Iran’s Evin prison showed appalling abuse of prisoners, reminding of the impunity granted to prison officials in Iran who subject those in their custody to torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.
Amnesty International accused Iranian authorities of typically blaming deaths in custody on suicide, drug overdose or illness in a rushed manner and without conducting any independent and transparent investigations.