BRUSSELS, June 7 (UPI) -- Despite passing new rights laws, the Iranian government has stepped up its practice of torture and arbitrary arrests, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
The 73-page report, "Like the Dead in Their Coffins: Torture, Detention and the Crushing of Dissent in Iran," provides the first comprehensive account of the treatment of political detainees in Tehran's Evin Prison since the government launched its current crackdown in 2000.
"Claims that reforms in Iran have put an end to torture are simply false," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division.
Student activists told Human Rights Watch about physical torture experienced at the hands of plainclothes security and intelligence agents. The report documents cases of beatings, long confinement in contorted positions, kicking detainees with military boots, hanging detainees by the arms and legs and threats of execution if individuals refused to confess.
The report concluded by calling on the European Union to increase pressure on Iran to take strong steps to end torture and ill-treatment in detention and restore freedom of expression. The ongoing EU-Iran human rights dialogue will have its next meeting in Tehran on June 14-15.