August 25, 2009

Prosecutor seeks “maximum punishment” for Hajjarian, Tajbakhsh accused of espionage

In the fourth round of mass trials, an Iranian prosecutor sought the “maximum punishment” for Saeed Hajjarian, a key reformist who was left disabled after an assassination attempt in 2000. Hajjarian and other senior reformists stand accused of endangering national security, a crime punishable by death. Reuters has more:

Analysts regard the trials as an attempt by the authorities to uproot the moderate opposition and put an end to protests that erupted after the election, which defeated candidates say was rigged in favor of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
IRNA said the accused were “the plotters of recent riots and disturbances” after the vote, which the authorities have portrayed as a foreign-backed bid to topple the Islamic Republic’s clerical leadership.
“Hajjarian is charged with acting against national security and propaganda against the Islamic establishment by spreading suspicion of vote-rigging … and provoking illegal protests,” IRNA quoted the indictment as saying.
In a statement read out in court by an associate, Hajjarian said he had “made major mistakes during the election by presenting incorrect analyses … and I apologize to the Iranian nation for those mistakes,” Fars News Agency reported.

Following the first round of trials at the beginning of this month, opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi stated that many confessions have been made under duress.
Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American scholar, was reportedly also on trial today for acting against national security and espionage, “a charge likely to anger Washington.” The mass trials in Tehran have been condemned as “show trials” by the international community.

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