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Khatami denounces protesters' trials

Aug. 2, 2009 at 11:38 AM   |   Comments

TEHRAN, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Trials under way for dozens of Iranian protesters are unconstitutional and amount to "play-acting," reformist former President Mohammad Khatami says.

A mass trial for nearly 100 people arrested during last month's demonstrations protesting the results of Iran's presidential elections began Saturday in Tehran, in which some of Iran's best-known reformist figures appeared in court dressed in prison garb, some of them shackled, The New York Times reported.

In addition to those actually charged, other well-known figures were named as conspirators, the newspaper said.

Khatami's office issued a statement Sunday blasting the trials' legitimacy, CNN said. The statement called the trials "an insult to Iran and Islam," asserting, "Such play-acting … damages the system and reduces public trust" and denouncing them as contrary to "the law and the rights of citizens."

Khatami said the real crimes had been committed by the authorities and condemned "the atrocities committed at certain detention centers as well as those committed during arrests which, in some cases, resulted in murder."

CNN said the reformist leader also dismissed reports that detainees had confessed to such alleged crimes as attacking military facilities, destroying public property and creating a public panic.

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