HRW: Iran should grant rights groups access to prisons

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Human Rights Watch called on Iran to allow rights groups access to prisons after the country permitted admission to foreign diplomats HRW reported.

Iran allowed foreign diplomats 45 minutes of access to Evin prison, known to hold the country’s high-profile political prisoners.

However, no political prisoners held after flawed trials, were allowed to hold meetings with any of the diplomats, the organization stated.

The visit was claimed “to rebut the false human rights claims made by some western governments and media, including on our prison conditions,” according to Kazem Gharib Abadi, deputy of foreign affairs for the High Council for Human Rights.

Former political prisoners and rights activists have called the arranged visit a public relations stunt. “These are usually engineered meetings where they prepare the room and a couple of prisoners for them,” Taghi Rahmani, a political activist who spent 13 years in prison, told Radio Farda.

Evin prison was closed to human rights investigators from independent international and national organizations for over a decade. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression was in 2003 the last to ask for admission.

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