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Asia-pacific

Mousavi backs Karoubi's claim of detainee rapes

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-19

Iranian reformists have quoted one of their leaders, Mirhossein Mousavi, as accusing "establishment agents" of raping and abusing, in prison, protesters arrested after June's elections, a claim already made by fellow reformist Mehdi Karoubi.

Opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi accused “establishment agents” of raping and abusing detainees imprisoned after Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election, a reformist website reported on Tuesday.

His accusation lent support to fellow reformist leader Mehdi Karoubi, who has come under fire from hardliners for saying some post-election protesters were raped in jail. The authorities have rejected the accusations as “baseless”.

“They (authorities) asked those who were abused and raped in prisons, to present four witnesses (to prove their claim)...  Those who committed the crimes were the establishments’ agents,” Mousavi said in a letter to Karoubi, the reformist mowjcamp.com website reported.

“They were threatening detainees to keep silent ... it is not possible to appease the suppressed people by using money and force,” Mousavi said.

Some hardliners have called for Karoubi to be arrested or tried if he failed to prove the abuse accusations. Karoubi says he has evidence of mistreatment of detainees. Last Thursday, he said some of those arrested were killed under torture.

“I praise your courage and hope the other clerics join and strengthen your efforts,” Mousavi’s letter said.

“It is the main duty of revolutionary clergy to reflect the realities, but some have closed their eyes and ignored this responsibility,” it added.

"Insults"

Iran arrested thousands of people after the election during its worst street unrest since the Islamic revolution three decades ago.

At least 200 people remain in jail, including senior moderate politicians, activists, lawyers and journalists. Iran has this month staged three mass trials against detainees. A fourth trial will be held on Wednesday, official media reported.

Karoubi’s party on Monday said his newspaper, Etemad-e Melli, had been temporarily closed down by the authorities.

Etemad-e Melli’s managing editor Mohammad-Javad Haqshenas, said it was closed down late on Sunday because it planned to publish a statement by Karoubi on its front-page.

In the statement, carried by the party’s website on Sunday, Karoubi responded to “insults” against him by his hardline opponents and said he would not be silenced.

Mousavi and Karoubi, who came second and fourth respectively in the election, say it was rigged to secure hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. Ahmadinejad and his allies deny it.

The hardline president has until Wednesday to present a cabinet to parliament for approval but may get a rough ride from the conservatives who dominate the assembly, as well as from his moderate foes who see his next government as illegitimate.

The poll and its turbulent aftermath have plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposing deepening divisions within its ruling elite and also further straining relations with the West.

The losing candidates say 69 people were killed in unrest following the vote. The figure is more than double the official toll of 26.
 

Date created : 2009-08-18

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