UN team on arbitrary detentions heads to Iran

14 February 2003 –

A team of United Nations experts on arbitrary detention is set to begin a two week field mission in Iran that will include meetings with judicial magistrates as well as visits to several of the country's prisons.

The five independent experts of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will head to Iran tomorrow, at the invitation of the Government. During the field mission, which lasts until 27 February, the Group will visit the Evin prison in Tehran and detention centres in Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd.

The delegation, headed by Louis Joinet of France, will also meet with members of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. Meetings are also scheduled with authorities of the Judiciary and with Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice and of the Penal and Revolutionary Courts, as well as with authorities of the Attorney-General Office and of the prison system. The mission will also hold discussions with members of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The Commission on Human Rights established the Working Group in 1991 to investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Since then the panel has carried out fact-finding missions to Bahrain, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Peru and Viet Nam. It has also visited Australia, Romania and the United Kingdom to look into the handling of "unauthorized arrivals", immigrants and asylum-seekers.

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