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Iran judicial panel rejects rape charges made by detained protestors

[JURIST] A panel of Iranian judiciary members has dismissed claims made by pro-reform presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi [NYT profile] that detainees arrested following the disputed June 12 presidential election [JURIST news archive] were sexually assaulted, according to a state media report [text] Saturday. The panel, made up of Iranian Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i, Judiciary Adviser Ali Khalafi, and Deputy Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeesi, found that there was no evidence to support Karoubi's allegations of rape and sexual harassment and that the claims were politically motivated. The panel also called for the arrest [AP report] of those spreading false allegations, which is seen as referring to Karroubi. On Tuesday, the Iranian government is said to have shut down the office of Karroubi's National Confidence Party [party website, in Arabic], which had been taking testimony about abuse from released prisoners. Also on Saturday, Iran's Supreme National Security Council banned newspapers from reporting [NYT report] on Karroubi or fellow opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive].

In August, Ahmadinejad called [JURIST report] for the prosecution of opposition leaders who allegedly conspired to orchestrate widespread protests after the presidential election. Human rights groups have accused [JURIST report] the Iranian government of using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals."

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