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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Iran begins trial of 100 post-election protesters
Ximena Marinero at 10:52 AM ET

[JURIST] Iran began the trial of 100 detained protesters from the post-election turmoil [JURIST news archive] Saturday as former Iranian president Mohammad Ali Khatami [RealiteEU profile] decried [statement, in Persian] the proceedings as a "show trial." Khatami said that the proceedings are against the Iranian constitution and laws and challenged the validity of confessions obtained under stressed circumstances. Khatami also criticized the court for giving no advance notice to the accused of their charges and warned that this display would undermine public confidence in the Iranian government. Former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mosavi [IranTracker profile; JURIST news archive] denounced the proceedings in a statement [text, in Persian] on his website as a clumsy display in preparation for Ahmadinejad's new term that uses confessions coerced through medieval methods through which the government expects to prove that there was no fraud in the elections.

The protesters on trial have been charged with crimes [PressTV report] ranging from vandalism and organizing riots to sending pictures of the protests to "enemy media." Iranian officials announced earlier this week [JURIST report] the plan to either press charges against or release most of those held after the riots. The government released 140 of those detained and closed one prison holding protesters, after Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] and other groups alleged that some protesters were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with torture in an effort to force false confessions [report text; JURIST report]. Earlier in July, opposition leaders called for the release [JURIST report] of those detained for their alleged involvement in the protests. Also in July, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) [advocacy website] reported that the number of deaths that occurred at the protests exceeded government reports [press release; JURIST report].

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