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HRW calls for judicial action in Iran

NEW YORK, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Judicial authorities in Iran should investigate allegations of sexual violence and abusive behavior in the national prison system, Human Rights Watch said.

The rights advocacy group points to a series of allegations of sexual assault in Iranian prisons on dissidents detained in the wake of the disputed June 12 election.

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Demonstrations turned violent in the wake of the June 12 vote that brought a contested second term to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian authorities responded to the dissent by rounding up opposition leaders and student protesters and accusing them of inciting violence.

Human Rights Watch points to the case of a 27-year-old activist whose medical record indicates he was sodomized by a blunt object and beaten severely while in custody.

"It's shameful for Iran's government to close its eyes to official evidence of severe sexual abuse of detainees by prison authorities," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

National Council of Resistance of Iran, a France-based Iranian opposition group, documents frequents protests against the continued detention of election dissidents.

Human Rights Watch called on Iranian authorities to hold those responsible for the abuse allegations accountable for their actions and reminds Tehran of its human-rights obligations under international law.

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