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Documenting Human Rights in Iran: Evidence Collection Guide

Documenting Human Rights Abuses In Iran: Collection of Evidence

The four main types of evidence are real, demonstrative, documentary and testimonial.

Real Evidence

“Real” evidence is physical evidence - objects that were actually involved in the situation or event. For example, if a protestor was shot during a demonstration, pieces of “real” evidence might include:

  • the shirt that s/he was wearing at the time that became stained with blood due to the injury
  • the gun used to shoot the demonstrator
  • bullets retrieved from the scene


Demonstrative Evidence

“Demonstrative” evidence is evidence that represents something else. This can include maps, charts, graphs, illustrations, models, drawings, etc. Examples include:

  • a map of a prison ward drawn by a former prisoner
  • a diagram of the place where a demonstrator was beaten by security force


Documentary Evidence

“Documentary” evidence is evidence that is in the form of original documents or copies of original documents. This can include government orders, memoranda, correspondence, judicial documents, hospital charts, medical practitioner notes, bank records, school records, power of attorney agreements, diaries, photographs and videos. Examples include:

  • A summons sent to a human rights activist to report for interrogation at Tehran’s Tracking Office
  • Medical records showing that a prisoner suffered from multiple head injuries and bruises while incarcerated
  • Audio or video recordings of demonstrators being arrested 


Testimonial Evidence

“Testimonial” evidence is a person’s own words about what they or someone else witnessed. The story can be told orally, in writing, or by video. Examples include taped audio interviews, video interviews and written testimony.

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