TEHRAN (AFP) – An Iranian court put on trial on Sunday another 28 people arrested over the post-election unrest as opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed to pursue his protests in a new “Green Hope” movement.
The latest court action brings to around 140 the number of people being tried in mass hearings for offences linked to massive demonstrations that erupted after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June.
The 27 men and one woman who appeared in court on Sunday are accused of a range of offences including participation in illegal rallies, vandalising public property and “hurting” security forces, according to an indictment.
There were no well-known political figures among the defendants.
At previous hearings Iran put around 110 people on trial on charges stemming from protests against the June 12 poll, which returned Ahmadinejad to power for another four years amid fraud allegations by the opposition.
Those defendants included top reformists and political activists as well as a young French woman lecturer and two employees of the French and the British embassies.
The court proceedings, which opposition leaders denounced as “show trials”, have angered the international community and heightened political tensions as Iran battles its worst crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Ahmadinejad’s re-election triggered massive street protests in Tehran and other cities by supporters of his closest rival, the former post-revolution premier Mousavi, and other defeated candidates.
Officials have said at least 30 people were killed in clashes with security forces but th opposition puts the death toll at 69. About 4,000 people were initially detained over the protests and hundreds are still behind bars.
Iran hardliners have accused foreign powers, especially the United States and Britain, of inciting “riots” — a charge denied by the opposition which insists the protests stem from a homegrown grassroots movement.
Mousavi, who lost to Ahmadinejad by 63 percent of the vote to 34 percent according to official results, has vowed to continue challenging the election outcome in a social movement named the “Green Path of Hope.”
Mousavi and other opposition figures charge that the election was massively rigged and have branded Ahmadinejad’s government illegitimate, in clear defiance of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“The Green Path of Hope is formed for the sake of people’s rightful demands and for claiming their rights,” the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper quoted Mousavi as saying at a meeting with members of doctors’ Islamic associations.
“The colour green is the symbol of this path and its demand is the complete implementation of the constitution,” he said.
“Countless self-initiated and independent social networks form the body of this movement,” he said, without specifying.
Mousavi had previously said he would launch a political front to follow up on his protest against the election which has bitterly divided Iran’s political and ruling elite.
Ahmadinejad’s press advisor, Ali Akbar Javafekr, was quoted as saying by the ILNA news agency that the president will submit his cabinet line-up to parliament either on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad is forming his new government grappling with disputes with his own hardline camp over a number of recent decisions on political appointments and MPs have warned him they must be consulted on his ministers.
Khamenei has in the meantime appointed a new judicial chief, Hojatoleslam Sadegh Ardeshir Larijani, according to state media.
In addition, a detention centre south of Tehran was shut down after reports of prisoner abuse and the opposition has raised controversial allegations that some detained protesters were raped in custody.