Tehran frees prisoners, but not reformist officials: Report

TEHRAN - No reformist officials were among the 140 prisoners released by Iranian authorities, the Etemad newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to official statistics, more than 1,000 people were arrested in protests over alleged fraud in the June 12 presidential election. Of these, about 300 are still in jail.

At least 20 people were reported killed during the street protests.

Apart from demonstrators, journalists and dissidents, a number of former reformist ministers and parliamentarians were also jailed.

After increasing concern over the fate of the prisoners and an order by judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi to release detainees with no major charges on bail, 140 were freed Tuesday.

The Etemad daily reported that the majority of the freed prisoners were protesters but no former officials were among them.

According to the daily, the officials are said to have been transferred to the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the closure of the Kahrizak detention centre in southern Tehran because it lacked the necessary standards for preserving detainees’ rights.

Kahrizak, also known as “Tehran’s Guantanamo”, is said to have been the main holding place for the detained protesters. Some of them are believed to have died there in mysterious circumstances.

The official news agency IRNA, meanwhile, reported that 20 of the detained protesters would be tried next week.

The 20 are charged with being linked to terrorist groups, carrying guns and grenades, intentionally attacking police and the voluntary Basij forces, sending pictures to “enemy media” and causing damage to public property.

The report added that some of the protesters were also linked to the rebel group People’s Mujahideen of Iran and the Bahai religious sect.

Meanwhile, Moussavi and the head of the Etemad Melli party, Mehdi Karroubi, decided to hold a mourning ceremony for those killed in the protests at the Behesht Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran.

The website of the Etemad Melli party reported that after the interior ministry rejected a request by Moussavi and Karroubi to hold a memorial ceremony in central Tehran for the victims in recent protests, the two decided to hold the ceremony at the victims’ graves in Behesht Zahra.

Though officials put the post-poll violence death toll at 20, parliament deputy Farhad Tajari told the ILNA news agency Tuesday that 30 people were killed in the recent demonstrations.

There was, however, no confirmation by other official sources on the death toll claimed by Tajari.

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