Compare and contrast

Iran does what the U.S. won't: begins criminal trials for those accused of torture

By Glenn Greenwald
March 10, 2010 4:10AM (UTC)
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(updated below)

I'll just go ahead and pass this on without (much) comment, because the point is self-evident:

Iran Torture Trials Begin

TEHRAN, Iran — The trial in Iran opened Tuesday for 12 suspects accused of torturing to death three anti-government protesters tortured in prison during the turmoil following the June elections, the official news agency reported.

Iran's judiciary last year charged 12 officials at Kahrizak prison for involvement in the death of three protesters detained there in July. . . .

In January, a parliamentary probe found a former Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, responsible for the torture death of the three in Kahrizak detention center in the capital. . . . .

Anger over the abuse emerged in August, after influential conservative figures in the clerical hierarchy condemned the mistreatment of detainees. The outrage forced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to order the immediate closure of [] Kahrizak.

At least 100 detainees died in U.S. custody, many as a result of interrogation practices and detention conditions.  Gen. Barry McCaffrey put it this way:  "We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."  Other than a handful of very low-level scapegoats, none has been punished, or even investigated, but rather immunized in multiple ways, both formal and informal.  Army Gen. Antonio Taguba concluded that the abuse was the direct result of the orders of top-level Bush officials and said:  "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."  Most of the people subject to our lawless "war on Terror" detention system were completely innocent.


Iran is a horribly oppressive regime and many of these judicial processes may (or may not) be sham trials.  But they have a citizenry which effectively demanded accountability for torture, a government which relented to citizen demands, and a judiciary which compelled at least some judicial scrutiny and adjudication for these crimes.  One can only imagine what it must be like to be a citizen of a country that feels obligated -- even if just to placate populist anger -- to at least maintain the pretense of that the rule of law applies to all.


UPDATE:  And just by the way, Agence France-Presse's Olivier Knox reported today: "AIPAC writes every member of US Congress urging 'crippling' sanctions on Iran."  But remember:  any suggestion that belligerent U.S. actions towards Iran has anything at all to do with Israel would be deeply inappropriate, probably even anti-Semitic or, at the very best, an idea which all decent people would agree has a "revolting provenance."

Glenn Greenwald

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