Iran Guard Wants Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatami Punished

Monday, 10 Aug 2009 08:29 AM

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LONDON -- Iran's Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday that two defeated presidential contenders should be tried for inciting unrest after the disputed poll, and one of the candidates said on his website detainees had been raped in jail.

The June 12 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 (Mirhossein) Mousavi, (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 commander of the powerful Guard, 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, though officials say it was the "healthiest" vote in the past 30 years.

State media say at least 26 people were killed and hundreds arrested during post-election violence. The judiciary has put some of the detainees on trial to deter further dissent.

Many of those arrested were held in the Kahrizak detention center in south Tehran, built to house people breaking the vice laws. At least three people died in custody there and widespread anger erupted as news spread of conditions in the jail.

On Sunday Karoubi said on his website that some protesters, both male and female, had been raped while in detention, and that he had written to the head of a powerful arbitration body calling for an investigation.

"Some senior officials told me that ... really shameful issues ... Some young male detainees were raped ... also some young female detainees were raped in a way that has caused serious injuries," the website quoted Karoubi as saying in a letter he wrote 10 days ago to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president.

A police statement issued on Thursday confirmed that serious violations took place in Kahrizak prison. The authorities said on Sunday they had jailed the head of the detention center.

"The head of the center 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.

TORTURE JAIL CLOSED

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the prison's closure in July for "lack of necessary standards" to preserve prisoners' rights, and Ahmadi-Moghaddam said some of those held there since the post-election protests had been tortured.

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

Iran's top judge, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, ordered his envoys to visit all "prisons and detention centres" to check on conditions.

Authorities say those detained in post-election unrest have been transferred to Tehran's Evin prison, where many political prisoners are held. They say some 200 protesters remain in prison, 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, Etemad-e Melli newspaper said.

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 end street protests, Iran began two mass trials of moderates, including prominent figures charged with offences that included acting against national security by fomenting voter unrest.

A 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.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner urged Iran to free 24-year-old French academic Clotilde Reiss, and rejected accusations against her of spying and helping a Western plot against Iran. "I want to clearly tell the Iranian authorities: these allegations are not true, Clotilde Reiss isn't guilty of anything," Kouchner said on LCI television.

"She did nothing but walk alongside protesters for one hour one time, and 1-1/2 hours another time. She did not submit a report, she sent a brief note to the director of the French Institute for Iranian Research, which is a cultural institute," he said, demanding she be freed.

U.S. national security adviser Jim Jones, speaking on American television, said the United States had 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.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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