x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Khatami denounces trial of protesters

The former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, a key opposition supporter, denounced the trial of about 100 people accused of rioting.

The former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, a key opposition supporter, denounced the trial of about 100 people accused of rioting after the re-election of the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "As per my information, what was done yesterday is against the constitution, regular laws and rights of the citizens," his office quoted him as telling a group of political activists and lawmakers. He said the court had relied on "confessions taken under certain circumstances which are not valid".

"The most important problem with the trial procedure is that it was not held in an open session. The lawyers and the defendants were not informed of the contents of the cases ahead of the trial." About 100 people went on trial in a revolutionary court in Tehran on Saturday on various charges, including rioting, vandalism, having ties with counter-revolutionary groups and of planning to launch a "velvet revolution".

Mr Khatami said he hoped such "harmful shows" do not make officials "forget to pursue the real crimes and offences" in jails where protesters who opposed Mr Ahmadinejad's June election victory are held. About 2,000 protesters, reformists, political activists and journalists were initially detained by authorities in a crackdown to quell unrest after massive public protests over the June 12 vote. About 30 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the violence, which set off the worst crisis in the Islamic republic's 30-year-old existence.

Most protesters have been released but about 250 remain behind bars. * AFP