September 14, 2009

More calls for Karroubi to be arrested

The following is a summary and analysis of an article in the infamous hardline newspaper Kayhan, which is close to the Supreme Leader and has a history of threatening Mousavi and Karroubi since the June 12 election. The following article was printed in Kayhan before Karroubi made his defiant statement today.

According to the hardline state newspaper Kayhan, the three-person special committee investigating claims of rape and sexual abuse by the security forces in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election has delivered its report to the judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, declaring Karroubi’s claims of widespread abuse completely baseless.

Kayhan has published the special committee’s summary of their interview with Mehdi Karroubi, in which the committee questions the ex-presidential candidate’s claims of rape and sexual abuse on a case by case basis. The committee’s conclusion is that Mr. Karroubi’s claims do not meet the standard necessary to merit further consideration, citing lacking of proof. For example, in the case of Taraneh Mousavi, Mr. Karroubi is quoted as saying:
I have never seen the body of Taraneh Mousavi or spoken with any members of her family and only heard reports through Mr. [Mir-Hossein] Mousavi’s headquarters and the joint committee we set up for the election. I am not certain of any of these claims and having only heard them, and I myself have no proof.”
Their summary states that not only has Mr. Karroubi never spoken to or seen victims or witnesses of rape and sexual abuse, but that his claims are based on biased sources (mainly his Ettemad-e Melli party and pro-Mousavi groups and people). They add that none of the alleged victims were arrested by uniformed security personnel at the location or time of a protest, but by plain-clothed men at various times and locations.
In their conclusion, the special committee gives two suggestions to the judiciary chief. Firstly, they suggest that it be publically announced that the claims of rape and sexual harassment by Mehdi Karroubi are completely baseless, and secondly that the judiciary should consider arresting and pressing charges against him.
With rumors (confirmed by the New York Times) about the possible arrest and prosecution of Mr. Karroubi circulating in the press in recent days, this is an official signal (and threat) that it may soon happen. According to Iranian law, false public claims that damage the regime and society have severe punishments, although no specific recommendations have been made.

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