Iran Admits Prisoners Were Beaten to Death
Government acknowledges 3 protesters were killed in jail
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 19, 2009 5:31 PM CST
Anti-government protesters march in Iran in this file photo.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – After months of denials, Iran acknowledged today that at least three people detained in the country's post-election turmoil were beaten to death by their jailers. The surprise announcement by the hard-line judiciary confirmed one of the opposition's most devastating claims against authorities after June's presidential vote. The judiciary also said it has charged 12 officials at the now-closed Kahrizak prison, which was at the center of claims that prisoners were tortured and raped in custody.

"The coroner's office has rejected that meningitis was the cause of the deaths and has confirmed the existence of signs of repeated beatings on the bodies and has declared that the wounds inflicted were the cause of the deaths," the judiciary statement said. There was no immediate public reaction from the opposition, but some activists asserted that authorities were merely seeking to punish low-ranking staff while shielding senior level officials.