Iran has opened the first trial of people allegedly involved in post-election violence. The charges included rioting, vandalism, “acting against national security”, and conspiring against the ruling system, state media reported.
Leading members of the opposition reform movement, such as a former vice-president, are included in the defendants. (photo, from bbc.co.uk)
Official media said that some told the court that their earlier claims of fraud during the 12 June poll were baseless.
As soon as it became clear president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been re-elected with a massive margin, allegations of vote-rigging were made by defeated candidates and their supporters.
“I say to all my friends and all friends who hear us, that the issue of fraud in Iran was a lie and was brought up to create riots,” former vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi was quoted by Fars news agency as telling the court.
In Saturday’s trial dozens of people were on trial, with photographs from the packed courtroom showing seated defendants wearing prison uniforms and with guards next to them.
Foreign media are restricted in their coverage of events in Iran.
Official news agency Irna said other charges included “having ties with counter-revolutionary groups.”
Withouth specifying the number if people on trial, Irna reported that some of those on trial had been photographed “committing the crimes”, and their accomplices were “on the run”.
The defendants included supporters of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi – both defeated in the election – and aides of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami.
Fars news agency said 100 defendants were on trial and reported that former deputy foreign minister Mohsen Aminzadeh, former government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, former senior lawmaker Mohsen Mirdamadi and former Industry Minister Behzad Nabavi were among the defendants.
The protests that followed the election results were the largest mass demonstrations seen in Iran since the 1979 revolution, which brought the current Islamic regime to power.
At least 30 people were killed in the days of violence following the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
Authorities also arrested hundreds during the protests.
On Tuesday, about 140 people arrested at the time were released from prison, while a further 200 remained in prison and were accused of more serious crimes.
Opposition groups believe the number of prisoners and those killed in the violence to be higher.
On August 5, Mr Ahmadinejad is due to be officially sworn in.
Since his election clashes have continued. Most recently during mourning to mark 40 days since the death of Neda Agha Soltan who was shot as she watched protests on 20 June.
State TV said police used teargas on Thursday to disperse crowds from around her grave.