TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered the closure of a jail holding protesters detained after last month’s poll as part of measures to curb abuse, a top official said on Tuesday.
“The supreme leader has issued a strict order to ensure there is no injustice committed against anyone in the aftermath of the recent events,” said the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, Saeed Jalili.
“As an example, he has ordered the closure of a detention centre which was not up to required standards,” he said in a statement carried on state-run Press TV, without specifying the location of the jail.
Iranian judicial officials say around 300 protesters arrested during the demonstrations which followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hotly disputed re-election on June 12 are still being detained.
A total of up to 2,000 protesters, political activists and journalists were detained but most have since been released, according to official reports.
Official media say at least 20 people were killed during the protests over charges of vote rigging, while several newspapers this week have reported the deaths of five more protesters, including some in custody.
Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, an Islamic conservative, called for the detainees to be freed to prevent any rights violations.
“The detainees, especially students and academics, should be treated with justice and Islamic compassion, and if there are cases which could be ignored (forgiven), they should be freed as much as possible to prevent exploitation,” Larijani said, quoted by the ILNA news agency.
On Monday, Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi ordered that the fate of the prisoners be decided within a week.
Shahrudi has also ordered that prisoners who have not committed serious enough crimes to keep them behind bars should be freed, his spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said.
An order has also been issued to investigate whether the rights of protesters have been violated, the spokesman said.
The head of Tehran prisons, Sohrab Soleimani, denied that two protesters, Mohsen Ruholamini and Mohammad Kamrani, had died due to beatings in prison, but said they had been struck down by meningitis.
“Ruholamini was not admitted to (Tehran’s) Evin prison and he already had meningitis. He was on his way to Evin when he felt sick and security agents took him to hospital,” Soleimani said in Donya-e Eqtesad newspaper.
Soleimani said Kamrani was released alive to his family, also suffering from meningitis. “He died the day after his release and all the physicians have vouched for that,” he said.
But on Monday, opposition leader Mir Hossien Mousavi asked that if Ruholamini had “died of meningitis, then how come his teeth were broken?”
The reformist newspaper Sarmayeh reported on Tuesday that the life of another detained reformist, Saeed Hajjarian, an advisor to former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, was in danger.
“Saeed’s life is in danger,” Dr Vajiheh Marsoosi, the detainee’s wife, was quoted as saying after she met him in Evin prison.
“He was seated in front of a camera and unable to say what was happening to him as there were security officials present,” she said.
“He looked pale … very weak and seriously depressed and was weeping all through the meeting. He had a foul body odour and said he had been kept in the sun as a pressure tactic,” she said.