NEW YORK, June 26 (UPI) -- Human rights activists are warning a prosecutor investigating detainees in Iran has a record of abusiveness and dissidents could face "trumped-up charges."
Human Rights Watch said Iran has put Saeed Mortazavi in charge of investigating reformist leaders and political officials who were detained during a government crackdown on public demonstrations following the June 12 presidential election. In a statement Thursday, the organization said Mortazavi has been implicated in torture, illegal detention and coercion of false confessions.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said the crackdown by Iranian security forces has already resulted in an undetermined number of deaths and the arrest of more than 1,000 people.
"The role of Mortazavi in the crackdown suggests that the authorities are preparing to bring trumped-up charges against its opponents," Whitson said.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said June 19 reformist political leaders would be blamed for any violence associated with protests. Security forces began cracking down on demonstrators the next day.
Official figures indicate 17 people died in clashes between protesters and government forces since the demonstrations began to protest the election, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner over his nearest challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi.