Iran’s chief prosecutor urges sedition trials for protest leaders

Iran’s Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei on Jan. 11 called for sedition trials against leaders of the protests following last June’s contested presidential election. In a statement to Tehran prosecutors, Ejei said that he supported calls by religious and civil authorities to try those who led anti-government protests for “mohareb,” or “enmity against God,” which is punishable by execution. In a letter addressed to the Iranian people, opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi said that he would not be deterred from continuing to push for reform by threats of prosecution.

On Jan. 10, an Iranian parliamentary committee released the results of an investigation into claims by Karroubi that those arrested during the protests were subject to sexual abuse while in custody. Although the committee found no convincing evidence of sexual abuse, it did fault former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi for sending detainees to Kahrizak prison, where they were subject to beatings, cramped conditions, and ill treatment that resulted in the deaths of at least three detainees. (Jurist, Jan. 11)

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  1. Amnesty: Iran’s ‘Mourning Mothers” must be released
    From Amnesty International, Jan. 11:

    Amnesty International has urged the Iranian authorities to release a group of women who were beaten and arrested during a peaceful vigil in Tehran at the weekend.

    The 33 women, members of a group known as the ‘Mourning Mothers’, were seized during their weekly meeting in Laleh Park, Tehran on Saturday, according to media reports. Several of the women were beaten and 10 were taken to hospital.

    The ‘Mourning Mothers’ are women whose children have been killed, disappeared or detained in post-election violence in Iran since last June, and their supporters. All 33 women are now being held in Vozara Detention Centre, Tehran.

    “Women who are grieving for children killed by security personnel should be able to count on support from the state to uncover the truth about what happened and to ensure redress for them, not face arbitrary detention and beatings,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “These women should be released immediately and unconditionally and an investigation launched into their treatment.”

    According to the Internationa Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, on Sunday, protesters gathered and chanted outside the Vozara detention centre in support of the detained women, which led to traffic nearby being blocked.

    Security forces reportedly attacked the crowd and violently dispersed it. Two people who were in a passing car taking pictures of the protest were arrested and taken inside the detention centre.

    The ‘Mourning Mothers’ meet in silence for an hour each Saturday near the place and time of the killing of protester Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death was shown in footage circulated around the world in July.

    Nine of the women are believed to suffer from illnesses, increasing the concern for their well-being.

    “We are seriously concerned about the health of these detained activists and hold the Iranian authorities responsible for their well-being,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

    This is not the first time that members of the group have been arrested. Up to 29 were arrested on 5 December, although all were released by 7 December.