Middle East News
Report: Tehran frees prisoners, but no reformist officials (2nd Roundup)
Jul 29, 2009, 13:30 GMT
Tehran - No reformist officials were among the 140 prisoners released in Tehran, the daily 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 protestors but no former officials were among them.
According to Etemad, 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 protestors. Some of them are believed to have died there in mysterious circumstances.
The official news agency IRNA reported, meanwhile, that 20 of the detained protestors 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 protestors 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.
According to official statistics, 20 demonstrators were killed in the recent unrest but parliament deputy Farhad Tajari told ILNA news agency on 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.