US Courts Provide Legal Redress to Victims of Torture in Iran
NEW YORK----Many Iranian lawyers, journalists, political dissidents, and members of religious minorities have been reportedly arrested and held in prison without due process of law.
According to International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a human rights advocacy group based in Washington, the use of torture is commonplace in Iranian prisons.
Prisoners are often held in prison interrogation wards and are subjected to physical and psychological abuse in an effort to obtain confessions.
The Islamic judges use these confessions to find the accused guilty and in some cases sentence the accused to death.
Prisoners are sometimes released on the condition that they do not seek medical treatment for wounds sustained as a result of torture.
The interrogators often warn prisoners not to discuss with family or friends their experiences during the interrogation.
There is very little the victims of abuse and torture can do in Iran and the Iranian government often re-arrest prisoners if they complain about their treatment in prison.
The alien torture law was passed by the first Congress in 1789.
Since then, the federal courts in the United States have had jurisdiction to allow aliens to file civil suits for acts of torture committed by foreign governments.
The law has been amended several times by Congress and its interpretation has been modernized by subsequent court decisions.
The modern anti-torture statutes allowing civil action in federal courts are the“Alien Tort Claims Act” (ATCA) and the “Torture Victim's Protection Act of 1991” (TVPA).
These laws allow both aliens and United States citizens to use the American federal courts in order to obtain monetary damages against those responsible for their captivity and torture.
The American anti-torture law is currently limited to claims against countries deemed by the United States government to be sponsors of terrorism.
Those countries are currently Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
The plaintiff must show that the agents of foreign government were responsible for the victim’s death or personal injury.
These statutes have been used successfully against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The recovery of damages may prove difficult in these cases. However, in the case of Iran, the American courts have allowed the plaintiff to recover damages from the frozen Iranian assets held by the United State’s government.
Tags: Confessions , Islamic Judges , Iran , Interrogation , Victims Of Abuse And Tort , American Courts , International Law
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