The LA Times has the latest on Iran’s mass trial:
Twitter, Facebook and Google’s newly introduced Persian-to-English translation software were part of a vast foreign conspiracy against Iran, said a prosecutor today at the second session of an extraordinary trial against alleged ringleaders of weeks of unrest unfolding in Iran.
Government critics and international observers have slammed the proceedings in Tehran as grotesque “show trials” meant to silence the opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed reelection triggered popular protests partially quelled in a violent official crackdown.As the trial unfolded, a reformist website reported that security forces disrupted a small protest by relatives of the accused and demonstrators chanting, “God is great,” outside the court building.
Among those in the defendants’ gallery was Clotilde Reiss, 24, a French student and researcher who was teaching language classes at a university in the city of Esfahan. She appeared pale but calm as she sat in the front row before the judge, according to photographs distributed by the Fars news agency, among the few government-affiliated news organizations allowed to cover the proceedings.
Reiss, speaking to the court, admitted to sending a one-page account of unrest in Esfahan to the head of the French research center in Tehran and to marching with demonstrators, for which she apologized, according to Fars.
Other defendants included Hossein Rassam, lead analyst at the British Embassy’s political section, and Nazak Afshar, a low-ranking official at the cultural mission at the French Embassy. Both were detained and later released on bail during the unrest.
In a statement read to the courtroom, Rassam described the humdrum details of his embassy job, including efforts to gather information about the political sensibilities of ordinary Iranians and politicians during the unrest, and rejected the accusation that what he was doing was espionage, according to an account by Fars.
He said a British Embassy employee took part in the rallies wearing the green colors that are the signature of the opposition movement.
British officials were stunned by Rassam’s appearance at the mass trial and have demanded clarification for what they described as an “outrage.”
“This is completely unacceptable and directly contradicts assurances we had been given repeatedly by senior Iranian officials,” an unnamed British Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement released to the news media. “We deplore these trials and the so-called confessions of prisoners who have been denied their basic human rights.”