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Asia-pacific

Trial of at least 30 protesters set to begin

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-08-01

At least 30 people arrested during protests following the disputed June 12 presidential election will face trial in Tehran beginning on Saturday. Meanwhile, a top Iranian cleric says "those who are not at fault" must be freed to restore calm.

About 30 people accused of rioting in the turbulent aftermath of Iran's disputed presidential election will face trial on Saturday, the ISNA news agency reported.
   
They will be prosecuted at a revolutionary court in Tehran, the report said without quoting a source.
   
Iranian officials had earlier said 20 "rioters" would face trial from Saturday.
   

"These 30 or so have participated in riots and are accused of acting against national security, disturbing public order and vandalising public and government property," ISNA said.
   
It added that several of them are accused of having connections with mohareb (enemies of God) groups.  

A top Iranian cleric said on Friday the key to restoring calm in the country is to free the detainees arrested during post-election protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mehr news agency reported on Friday.

 

Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, who has regularly voiced concerns over the political turmoil gripping the Islamic republic, said: "In order to bring calm to society, the fate of prisoners must be decided as soon as possible."
   
"Those who are not at fault or whose fault can be ignored under Islamic laws, they must be freed. I hope by the time of the birth anniversary of the 12th Imam (Mahdi), we will have no prisoners in the prisons."
   
The birth anniversary of Imam Mahdi, a revered Shiite saint, falls on August 7 and even Ahmadinejad has urged the judiciary to release all the protesters by then.

 

slideshow

   
Earlier this week, Iran's chief prosecutor Ghorbanli Dorri Najafabadi said a "considerable" number of protesters would be released on Friday.
   
About 250 protesters of approximately 2,000 people arrested in the post-election unrest are behind bars but most have been released.

 

 

Date created : 2009-07-31

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