Iran opposition says 69 killed in election protests

Iran Materials 12 August 2009 04:42 (UTC +04:00)

Iranian opposition leaders say 69 people were killed in protests after a disputed election in June -- more than double the official toll of 26 -- and parliament has promised to investigate, pro-reform newspapers said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Many conservatives have joined an outcry led by reformist opponents of re-elected hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the treatment of more than 4,000 people officials say were detained throughout Iran during demonstrations after the vote.

The opposition says the poll was rigged, a charge denied by Iran's authorities, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has accused Western powers of inciting the unrest.

"The names of 69 people who were killed in post-election unrest ... were submitted to parliament for investigation. The report also included the names of about 220 detainees," Alireza Hosseini Beheshti, an ally of moderate presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, was quoted by Sarmayeh daily as saying.

Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference more than 4,000 protesters had been detained after the election, of whom 3,700 had been released within a week of their arrest.

Among those still in prison are senior pro-reform politicians, journalists, activists and lawyers.

A French embassy worker on trial for spying in Tehran has been released from jail although she is still being prosecuted, said French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office.

Nazak Afshar, along with French teaching assistant Clotilde Reiss, is among dozens of defendants at a mass trial and is charged with espionage and taking part in a Western plot to overthrow the government, charges France says are baseless.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said after a meeting on Monday with a committee set up by opposition leaders to pursue the issue that the assembly would carefully review cases of detainees and those killed, Etemad-e Melli newspaper said.


Mehdi Karoubi, who also ran in the June 12 poll, said on Sunday some protesters, both men and women, had been raped in detention. He said he had written 10 days earlier to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who heads a powerful arbitration body, asking for an inquiry, but had received no response.

"Such claims (of detainee abuse) will be investigated by parliament," said Larijani, a conservative who has frequently criticized Ahmadinejad's foreign and domestic policies.

Last month Khamenei, the supreme leader, ordered the closure of a "sub-standard" detention center at Kahrizak. Police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has acknowledged some protesters were tortured at Kahrizak and said its director had been jailed.

Many protesters were held at Kahrizak, in southern Tehran, which was built for vice law offenders. At least three people died in custody there, causing widespread public anger.

Ahmadinejad, who was sworn in last week, must name a cabinet and seek parliament's approval in what may be a stormy process.