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Presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi is facing prosecution for accusing government forces of raping, torturing and murdering anti-government protesters. As a cleric, Mr. Karroubi’s case will be tried by a clerical court. The decision to prosecute Mr. Karroubi indicates that the Islamic regime is far from content with putting lower-level opposition members on trial.
The investigation into the opposition leader has yet to result in formal charges, but according to prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi some individuals have already been summoned.” The proceedings of Iran’s Special Cleric Court are not open to the public, and if charges are filed, could provide the already secretive government with the ideal forum to move forward with trumped up charges against a senior figure of the 1979 Revolution.
Mr. Karroubi’s accusations of prisoner abuse following the June elections have been vigorously denied by officials in Iran. Government forces have also raided Karroubi’s offices, taking “documents and computer files.” The panel that investigated the accusations of abuse concluded that “allegations [of rape and torture] are unsubstantiated and documents submitted are totally fabricated and aimed at misleading public opinion.”
The on-going treatment of opposition members, such as the three people sentenced to death, and the abhorrent brutality of the post-election crackdown on protesters are public evidence that the Iranian government has abused citizens. The testimony of rape and abuse provided by Ibrahim Sharifi, who is now living in exile, proves that it is the government that has in fact been “misleading public opinion.”
By going after such a prominent opposition figure, the government is also risking an incitement to more radical protests. At a recent protest the crowd chanted “If Karroubi is arrested, there will be insurrections across Iran.”

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