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Asia-pacific

Former president denounces 'show trial'

©

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-02

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami (pictured left) denounced the trial of around 100 people for rioting after the contested June presidential elections. Khatami said the proceedings were "against the constitution".

Reuters - Moderate former president Mohammad Khatami rejected as a “show” the trial of 100 prominent reformers who were arrested after Iran’s disputed June presidential election set off unrest, his website said on Sunday.

“The trial on Saturday was a show and the confessions are invalid ... What was called a trial was a violation of the constitution ... Such show trials will directly harm the system and will further damage public trust,” his website khatami.ir reported.

Iran tried on Saturday 100 moderates arrested shortly after Iran’s June 12 election, charged with trying to overthrow the clerical establishment.

It was the first time since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution that dozens of senior officials, including former ministers, vice-presidents and lawmakers, had been put on trial.

The official IRNA news agency quoted the indictment as saying the charges against the defendants also included acting against national security by planning unrest, participating in the “Velvet Revolution”, attacking military and state buildings and conspiring against the ruling system.

State television showed footage of the courtroom with many young defendants, some handcuffed, and vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi, former deputy foreign minister Mohsen Aminzadeh and former MP Mohsen Mirdamadi in prison uniform.

Leading moderates say the vote was rigged in favour of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The authorities deny the charge and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has endorsed Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

State television showed two prominent reformers saying that that the vote was not rigged. Abtahi, a close ally to Khatami, apologised for his misjudgments about the vote.

Date created : 2009-08-02

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