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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Trial of 16 Ashura riot detainees begins in Iran
The trial of 16 individuals involved in last month's unrest in Iran has started with the prosecutor laying out the charges brought out against the defendants.
The hearing, presided by Judge Abul Qasim Salavati, began with a general indictment against 14 men and two women on Saturday morning at Tehran's Revolution Court.
The prosecutor explained that five of the defendants were facing charges of Moharebeh (enmity towards God), while the others were being tried for taking part in ""illegal protests, threatening national security, and spreading propaganda against the establishment.""
The indictment said that the latter individuals had targeted the country's security ""by encouraging others to rebel.""
According to the prosecutor, all the suspects were working in line with the interests of the U.S. and other foreign states that ""were seeking regime change in the Islamic Republic of Iran.""
The anti-government protests on December 27 coincided with Ashura mourning ceremonies, when protesters damaged public property, set fire to trashcans, and clashed with security forces.
The defendants could face long prison terms or the death penalty for the more serious charges such as Moharebeh.
Nine rioters have already been handed the death penalty over their involvement in plots against the Islamic Republic following the June presidential election.
In a recent hearing, they were found guilty of being a Mohareb (enemy of God), attempting to topple the Islamic establishment, and membership in the Mujahedeen Khalq Organization. The nine will be executed if the Court of Appeal upholds their sentence.
The MKO, listed as a terrorist group in Iran, Iraq, Canada, and the U.S., has carried out many attacks against Iranian officials and civilians over the past 30 years.
Meanwhile, official statements indicate that legal proceedings on the cases of 37 other Ashura detainees have also began at the Tehran Revolution Court, as the prosecutors' office has finished compiling their files.
Tehran's Public Prosecutor's Office has released a statement vowing to bring charges against all Ashura detainees with determination, scrutiny and rapid action.
(Source: Press TV)