TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran should immediately release detainees who did not play a major part in street unrest after its disputed election in June, a member of a parliamentary investigative committee said on Tuesday.
MP Farhad Tajari also expressed criticism about the conduct of mass trials that Iran began last month of more than 100 reformers, activists and others accused of fomenting huge protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
Rights groups say thousands of people, including senior pro-reform figures, were arrested after the presidential poll almost three months ago. Most of them have been released but more than 200 remain in jail, according to the opposition.
Tajari said the committee, set up by parliament to look into post-election events, had met with new Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“Members of this committee had some criticisms over the conduct of trials of detainees accused of being linked to the recent unrest,” Tajari said, without elaborating.
“One of the points we stressed during the meeting was to immediately release those detainees who did not have big roles in the unrest,” IRNA quoted Tajari as saying.
The fates of the others should be clarified soon, he said.
“If they are convicted they should be punished, if there is no evidence against them their detention should end,” he said.
Reformist former president Mohammad Khatami last month said confessions made by detainees at the mass trials were obtained under “extraordinary conditions” and were invalid. Those in the dock include several of his allies.
Defeated presidential candidates Mehdi Karoubi and Mirhossein Mousavi, who say the June 12 election was rigged in favor of the hard-line incumbent, have said some detained opposition protesters were raped and abused in jail.
The authorities, which say the vote was the healthiest in the Islamic Republic’s history, have denied the rape allegation but have ordered the closure of one Tehran detention center.
Ahmadinejad’s allies have portrayed the street protests, which were put down by the elite Revolutionary Guards and a pro-government Islamic militia, as a foreign-backed bid to topple the Islamic Republic’s clerical leadership.
The opposition says more than 70 people were killed in the unrest. The authorities estimate the death toll at 26 people and say members of the Basij militia were among them.
Mousavi’s website, Kaleme.com, said security forces had raided one of his offices in Tehran on Monday and confiscated documents and other material there.
It said it was the premises of an opposition committee looking into post-election events, including the number of dead and the treatment of people held in prison.
Reporting by Reza Derakhshi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Dominic Evans