Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran’s new legal chief urges release of protesters | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TEHRAN — Iran’s new judiciary chief has called for the swift release of some protesters jailed in the aftermath of the June presidential election, newspapers on Tuesday quoted a prominent MP as saying.

“Ayatollah (Sadeq) Larijani said it is necessary to release immediately a group of detainees,” said Kazem Jalali, who is the spokesman of a parliamentary panel set up to look into unrest that followed the disputed poll.

Jalali, who met Larijani on Monday, said the judiciary chief also “insisted that the defendants’ trials should fully respect the penal proceedings code,” the reformist Sarmayeh newspaper said.

The June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked massive street protests in Tehrean in which 4,000 people were initially arrested and at least 30 — and by opposition accounts 69 — people were killed.

Iran still holds hundreds of people, and has put 140, including senior reformers and journalists, on trial on charges of seeking a soft overthrow of the Islamic regime and inciting protests.

The opposition has condemned what it calls the “show trials” and says that defendants have been denied proper legal counsel and coerced into confessions.

Iranian authorities have also come under fire over allegations of rape and torture of protesters in detention.

Since his appointment last month, Larijani has reshuffled key officials in the judiciary and replaced hardline Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, who was behind the post-election mass trials.