Fartashphoto's Blog

Iran threatens trial for opposition leaders

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on December 31, 2010

Tehran’s chief prosecutor said Friday it was only a matter of time before opposition leaders are put on trial for the unrest following the disputed 2009 presidential election, the latest sign that Iranian authorities may make a potentially explosive escalation of their crackdown.

Hundreds of opposition supporters have been arrested and tried in the fierce crackdown that crushed opposition protests in the wake of the election, which the opposition claimed hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by fraud.

So far, authorities have stopped short of trying to jail the reform movement’s top leaders — Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims to have been the real victor in the election, fellow candidate Mahdi Karroubi and former President Mohammad Khatami — apparently out of concern it could spark a new wave of protests and fuel the opposition.

But a series of recent public warnings by hard-liners that they could be tried may be a sign that Iran’s Islamic clerical leadership believes the opposition has been sufficiently suppressed that their arrest would not bring a significant backlash.

On Friday, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told worshippers at Tehran University that the opposition leaders are criminals who sought to topple the ruling Islamic system through street protests.

“We’ve said many times … that leaders of sedition are criminals and charges against them will be investigated. That they will stand trial is definite,” Dowlatabadi said in his address, broadcast live on state radio.

Mousavi and Karroubi said earlier this month that they are already living in a “big prison” and didn’t care if they were put behind bars in a “small prison” for defending the trampled rights of the Iranian nation. Mousavi recently likened Iran’s ruling system to a North Korean style dictatorship with a few cosmetic democratic gestures and criticized the disputed June 2009 election as a coup against democracy.

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