1 August 2009 (10 Mordad): Sham trial of reformists begins in Iran

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Yesterday's biggest event was probably the beginning of the sham trial of around 100 reformists / demonstrators arrested after the election, including some prominent figures from previous administrations, namely Mohammad Ali Abtahi (former vice-president), Mohsen Mirdamadi (leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front), Behzad Nabavi (former industry minister and former vice speaker of parliament, and Mohsen Aminzadeh (former deputy foreign minister).

Mohammad Ali Abtahi was even interviewed for the Daily Show just before the election, in a clip you can see just below. Compare that to the picture seen here at the trial yesterday in a prison uniform.

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This public trial, attended only by journalists loyal to the regime, is intended to be a "show of strength", but I really can't see how this is intended to benefit them whatsoever - it's not as if protesters until now have been unaware of the possibility of being beaten, arrested and tortured while in prison, and this along with Khamenei's official ceremony to approve Ahmadinejad on the 3rd and Ahmadinejad's swearing-in on the 5th should do nothing but inflame protests.

Tehran Bureau has a writeup here on the trial, probably the most detailed writeup available online in English. Note in particular the part at the end about how confessions are used in court, and Shirin Ebadi's thoughts on the trial. Forced confessions are a kind of process that many go through in order to escape the deadlock of staying under lock and key, because those that have done the arrest want to have something to reference in order to make their case, and those that have been arrested stand a greater chance of being set free afterwards, after which they can then tell others that the confession was a complete sham.

Two other articles of interest: one here from Al-Jazeera on the end of the Republic, and one here from Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of Iran after the Islamic Revolution.

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