Iran forces arrest hundreds in post-election protests

[JURIST] Iranian forces arrested 457 people Saturday for protesting the recent presidential election [BBC backgrounder], according to state media on Monday. According to reports, at least ten people were killed in the weekend's protests. Also Monday, Iran's Guardian Council of the Constitution [official website, in Persian] spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei said that the number of votes in approximately 50 constituencies exceeded the number of eligible voters [Financial Times report] but maintained that such a discrepancy could arise out of voters' ability to vote anywhere in the country. Reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi [IranTracker profile], who lost the election to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], urged people to continue their peaceful protests without being intimidated. Mousavi claims that more votes were counted than eligible voters in 170 out of 45,713 constituencies [Turkish Weekly report].

Last week, Iran's spiritual leader and highest authority Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official profile; BBC profile], who previously ordered an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged voter fraud, called for an end to further demonstrations [CNN report] and maintained that the election was not manipulated. World leaders and human rights groups have viewed the arrests as political repression [JURIST report], saying that Iranian forces are using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals." Calling for authorities to respect and nurture debate, Amnesty International [advocacy website] stressed [press release] Thursday that "healthy debate on issues of fundamental importance to peoples' lives" informs, rather than threatens, policy makers." Following the Ayatollah's ordered investigation, the Guardian Council of the Constitution said Tuesday that it would conduct a partial recount [JURIST report] of the disputed election results.



 

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