Iran opposition leaders call for release of detained protesters

[JURIST] Iranian opposition leaders called Tuesday for the release [Ghalamnews report, in Persian] of persons detained for their alleged involvement in protests following last month's disputed presidential election [JURIST news archive]. The request was brought jointly by candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi [IranTracker profile; JURIST news archive] and Mehdi Karroubi and former president Mohammad Khatami, who also called for the government immediately to stop the allegedly baseless arrests of dissidents. The opposition leaders stressed the importance of ending what they called a newly formed security state, saying that the current situation would result in further political unrest. The country's police chief last week maintained [AFP report] that two-thirds of the people arrested during the protests have been released. Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official profile; BBC profile] on Monday warned Western nations [BBC report] to stay out of the country's internal affairs, claiming that relations with meddling countries would suffer.

Iran has been experiencing turmoil in Tehran and elsewhere since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was declared the winner of the election in June. Last week, a conservative paper called for Mousavi and Khatami to be tried for treason [JURIST report] for their involvement in post-election protests. Also last week, the Iranian government barred the publication [press release, in Persian; JURIST report] of a newspaper linked to Karroubi, attempting to quash political dissidence. The country's Guardian Council of the Constitution [official website, in Persian] recently certified the contested results [press release, in Persian; JURIST report], officially sanctioning the re-election of Ahmadinejad. Authorities stated that those arrested would be dealt with [Reuters report] by the court system. 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."



 

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