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Middle east

Revolutionary Guard official wants opposition leaders tried


Latest update : 2009-08-10

A senior official in the Revolutionary Guards has called for Mirhossein Mousavi and other opposition leaders who campaigned against President Ahmadinejad in the election, to be arrested and tried for being agents of the recent unrest.

REUTERS - Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday that opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, a defeated presidential candidate and a former president should be tried for inciting unrest after a disputed presidential poll.

The June 12 presidential election plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite and set off a wave of protests that left 26 people dead.

“If Mousavi, (defeated candidate Mehdi) Karoubi and (former president Mohammad) Khatami are main suspects behind the soft revolution in Iran, which they are, we expect the judiciary ... to go after them, arrest them, put them on trial and punish them,” said Yadollah Javan, a senior Guard commander, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Protests gripped Tehran and other cities after the vote, which moderates say was rigged to secure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but officials say it was the “healthiest” vote in the past 30 years.

State media say at least 26 people were killed and hundreds arrested in post-election violence.

In an attempt to calm widespread anger, Iran jailed the head of the Kahrizak detention centre after at least three people died in custody in the southern Tehran prison as the judiciary held trials of detainees arrested over post-election unrest.

“The head of the centre has been sacked and jailed. Three policemen who beat detainees have been jailed as well,” IRNA quoted Iran’s police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam as saying.

Kahrizak was built for jailing violators of Iran’s vice laws. A police statement issued on Thursday confirmed that serious violations took place at Kahrizak.

Ahmadi-Moghaddam also confirmed that some post-election detainees had been tortured in Kahrizak prison, which Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered closed in July for “lack of necessary standards” to preserve the rights of prisoners.

Moderate websites reported the death of at least three protesters in Kahrizak, including the son of a top adviser to conservative defeated presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaie.

After Mohsen Ruholamini’s death in Kahrizak, Iran’s top judge Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi ordered his envoys to visit all “prisons and detention centres”.

The centre became the source of even more controversy when two more Kahrizak detainees later died in hospital.

Uproot unrest

Authorities say the voter unrest detainees have been transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison, where many political prisoners are held.

They also say some 200 post-election protesters remain imprisoned, including senior pro-reform politicians, journalists, activists and lawyers.

Iranian prosecutor Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi said all necessary legal measures would be taken against those “who had violated the law” in Kahrizak, the Etemad-e Melli newspaper reported.

Leading moderates including Mousavi and former president Khatami have called for the immediate release of detainees, saying their confessions were made under duress.

In an attempt to uproot the opposition and to end street protests, Iran held two mass trials of moderates, including several prominent figures charged with offences that included acting against national security by fomenting voter unrest.

An Iranian Revolutionary Court on Saturday charged a French woman, two Iranians working for the British and French embassies in Tehran and dozens of others with spying and assisting a Western plot to overthrow the system of clerical rule.

Espionage and acting against national security are punishable by death under Iran’s Islamic law.

Mousavi and Karoubi say Ahmadinejad’s next government will be illegitimate, defying Khamenei, who formally endorsed Ahmadinejad on Monday.

Speaking on American television, U.S. national security adviser Jim Jones said the United States has urged Iran to release three American hikers who were detained there recently.

“We have sent strong messages that we would like these three young people released as soon as possible, and also others that they have in their custody as well,” Jones told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The Iranian government acknowledged on Sunday that it had the three Americans in its custody, he said.

Date created : 2009-08-09