Sunday, October 25, 2009

Families of Detained Iran Reformists Arrested

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Iranian authorities have detained 35 relatives and supporters of jailed reformists, including wives and children, the reformist Sarmayeh newspaper reported on Saturday. In a separate report reformist website norooznews said "armed, masked guards" on Thursday raided a prayer ceremony in Tehran attended by families and supporters of jailed reformists who opposed the June re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Sarmayeh reported that initially 60 people were arrested, among them the wives and children of jailed reformists including from the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) party, and that 35 remain in detention. The prayer ceremony to pay respect to the jailed reformists was being held at the residence of reformist Shahab Tabatabai's father-in-law. Tabatabai, a senior campaigner for the main defeated presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been sentenced to five years in prison for his alleged role in the post-election unrest which rocked Tehran.

The IIPF website, norooznews, condemned what it called an "unbelievable attack on a prayer ceremony," adding: "How will they clean the disgraceful stain of the attack by armed, masked guards on a family gathering?" The website stressed that Mousavi's proposed political front, the Green Path of Hope, will not be "harmed by arresting several of our dear ones. Such actions mean rather the defeat of the coup people than a show of their power." Opposition leaders have repeatedly charged that the June 12 poll was rigged to return Ahmadinejad to power. Iran has already sentenced to death three people who were also detained in the post-vote unrest. Other reformists have been given varying jail terms. About 4,000 people were arrested during anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations in Tehran soon after the election, and 140, including senior reformers and journalists, have been put on trial for allegedly seeking a "soft" overthrow of the Islamic regime and inciting protests.