Iran puts 16 protesters on trial as opposition calls for new rally

16 protestors charged with offences connected with Iran's disputed June presidential re-election of Ahmadinejad, went on trial, a court website said.

Iran puts 16 protesters on trial as opposition calls for new rally

Opposition heads on Saturday implicitly called for demonstrations on the February 11 anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution in the same day with sixteen opposition protestors charged with offences connected with Iran's disputed June presidential re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, went on trial.

Five of the defendants were charged with "moharebeh" (waging war against God) while the remainder were accused of public order and national security offences, the court said.

All of the accused on Saturday were arrested after eight people were killed in clashes between opposition supporters and security forces on Ashura, the holy Shi'ite day of ritual mourning, that fell on Dec. 27. The date coincided with the seventh day of mourning for leading dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.

The semi-official Isna news agency quoted the deputy Tehran prosecutor as saying that of the 16, one was a member of the outlawed Baha'i faith, one was a communist and some of the rest belonged to the counterrevolutionary group Mojahedin Khalq Organization.

On Saturday semi-official Fars news agency reported an additional 150 people had been detained over the Ashura unrest, taking the total number of opposition protestors arrested in the aftermath of the Dec. 27 protest to more than 450, according to officials.

The widespread protests that followed almost immediately after the election plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Hanged protesters

On Thursday Iran hanged two men convicted of moharebeh over the unrest.

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have spearheaded protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met on Saturday and invited supporters to demonstrate on the anniversary day, Karroubi's website Sahamnews.org said.

Fars also said security forces had obtained films and photographs from the 150 people detained which will help the identification of and arrests of "a large number of additional rioters."

The two opposition leaders said Thursday's hangings of two dissidents, Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour, for allegedly plotting to topple the Islamic regime after Iran's election dispute broke out in June was a bid to keep people away from the February 11 demonstration.

"It seems that such a move is to scare people so they do not take part in the demonstration of 22nd of Bahman (February 11)," the website quoted the two as saying, an indication of possible anti-government protests during regime-sponsored annual marches.

Reuters

Last Mod: 30 Ocak 2010, 17:22
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