Jewish teen among those tried in Iran

25 more opposition supporters in court over their alleged involvement in the post-election turmoil.

By
August 16, 2009 11:17
2 minute read.
Jewish teen among those tried in Iran

Iran trial 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

Iran put on trial 25 more activists and opposition supporters on Sunday, including a Jewish teenager, for their alleged involvement in the post-election turmoil. The prosecutor opened the trial with a general indictment of all 25 defendants, accusing them of plotting the post-election disturbances years ahead of time, said the state news agency. During the trial, authorities played a film showing attacks on public property, cars and a mosque by protesters. Earlier this month, Iran held two other court sessions for more than 100 reformist politicians and activists accused of attempting to overthrow Iran's Islamic system. Protests erupted after many believe President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the June 12 elections through fraud. The semi-official Fars news agency reported one of the people on trial belonged to Iran's Jewish community. Yaghoghil Shaolian, 19, was quoted as saying he did not join the protests, but just threw some stones at a bank branch in central Teheran on June 14, resulting in his arrest. He said he was not an activist and did not vote in the election. The report said Shaolian's lawyer asked the court for a reasonable and fair prosecution due to his youth. Iran's sole Jewish parliamentarian, Siamak Mereh Sedq, confirmed the detention of Shaolian and his Jewish identity to The Associated Press. "I have been pursuing his case since we learned about his detention," said Mereh Sedq. He said Shaolian's detention was not related to his religion. "He is innocent, we hope to see his release soon based on Islamic mercy," he said. Shaolian's trial is the first time a Jew has been tried in Iran since 2000 when 13 Jews were charged with spying for Israel. Iran is home to 25,000 Jews, the largest such community in the Middle East outside Israel. IRNA also reported that during the hearing one of the suspects, Mehrdad Aslani, accused opposition leader Mir Hosein Mousavi and other reformist activists of planting the idea of election fraud in the mind of their supporters. "Mr. Mousavi, do you know there are seats here for you and your friends who were the cause of this plot?" Aslani was quoted as saying. Opposition activists say court confessions in Iran are often coerced. There have been repeated hardline calls for the prosecution of Mousavi and his allies, but no official statement about it yet. Earlier on Saturday, Mousavi said he formed a new political organization to pursue freedoms within the framework of the country's constitution. The Sunday report by several newspapers in Teheran said Mousavi named the body on Saturday "the Green Path of Hope" and said it was aimed at regaining people's constitutional rights. Mousavi said "our slogans during the election were in the framework of the constitution and today we will continue to adhere to these ideas." He said volunteer and social networks would form the body of his organization. The reports said more details would be announced in the future.


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