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Tribunal outraged by Iranian MP's claims that pollsters were tortured

Tehran Justice Department has denounced an MP's allegations about the torture and mistreatment of two pollsters and threatened to take action if he fails to show up in court, IRNA reported from Tehran.

In a statement, a copy of which was available to IRNA Sunday, the tribunal denounced Tehran MP, Ali Akbar Moussavi Khoeini's statements during a visit of UN team on arbitrary detention to the Islamic Republic in February as 'false and against national interests.'

Khoeini had said then that Hossein Ali Qazian and Behrouz Geranpayeh, both indicted in a controversial case which claimed most Iranians favored normal ties with US, had been subjected to torture and were kept at a secret location.

Tehran Justice Department said that the MP's allegations had led the UN team to compile a 'false report on illegal detention of (the pollsters) in an undisclosed place and use of methods of torture'.

"This MP's false statements have paved the way for the compilation of a (UN) draft resolution for international pressure on Iran while Qazian and Geranpayeh have in the public court denied any maltreatment and torture describing them as sheer lie," it said.

The tribunal said that it had served summons for Khoeini following a suit lodged against him by the public prosecutor, but the MP had refused to show up.

"The judicial apparatus, in line with defending the people's rights, will act according to its legal duty in case of further refusal," it said.

A team of United Nations experts on arbitrary detention paid a two-week visit to Iran on in February to meet magistrates and tour several prisons of the country, including Evin in northern Tehran.

The five independent experts of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, headed by Louis Joinet of France, were visiting at the invitation of the Iranian government.

Their mission included discussions with members of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, and representatives of non-governmental organizations as well as state officials.

Qazian and Geranpayeh were arrested along with another pollster, Abbas Abdi, last year and a court accused them of selling intelligence to foreigners and propagating against the Islamic Republic.

An appeals court earlier this month commuted prison terms of Qazian and Abdi to four years and six months each down from nine years and eight years respectively.

Geranpayeh, the head of the National Institute for Research and Opinion Polls, has been released from jail on bail, pending a verdict. He has been charged with 'publishing false and poisonous information' as well as 'selling information to foreigners'.

The court has accused the defendants of carrying out the research on the order of the Washington-based Gallup Organization.

... Payvand News - 4/27/03 ... --

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