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Iran to begin trials of election protesters

[JURIST] Iran officials said Wednesday that they plan to begin trials Sunday for 20 of those detained during protests of the controversial reelection [JURIST news archive] of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The protesters have been charged with crimes [PressTV report] ranging from vandalism and organizing riots to sending pictures of the protests to "enemy media." Iranian officials announced earlier this week [JURIST report] that it planned to either press charges against or release most of those held after the riots. It has already released 140 of those detained and closed one prison holding protesters, after Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] and other groups alleged that some protesters were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with torture in an effort to force false confessions [report text; JURIST report].

Earlier this month, opposition leaders called for the release [JURIST report] of those detained for their alleged involvement in the protests. Also this month, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) [advocacy website] reported that the number of deaths that occurred at the protests exceeded government reports [press release; JURIST report]. Human rights groups have viewed the arrests as political repression [JURIST report], saying that Iranian forces are using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals." Despite the controversy, the country's Guardian Council of the Constitution [official website, in Persian] recently certified the contested results [JURIST report], officially sanctioning the re-election of Ahmadinejad.

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