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Iran Puts 16 More Protesters On Trial


Iran's state media reports that 16 more opposition activists have been put on trial in Tehran today in connection with postelection protests in late December.

The official IRNA news agency says five of the defendants are accused of being "mohareb" (enemies of God) and "corrupt on earth." Both are crimes punishable by death under the Iranian legal system, which is based on Islamic Shari'a law.

The rest are accused of "gathering and conspiring against security, propaganda against the system, and seeking to harm security by inciting unrest and riot," it said.

The trial comes as Amnesty International, along with the United States, the European Union, and the British government, on January 29 condemned the executions in Iran of two men who were sentenced to death in trials after June's disputed Iranian presidential election.

Since August, Iran's hardline government has tried more than 100 political activists. Eleven people were sentenced to death. More than 80 others have received prison terms.

Iranian opposition leaders have condemned this week's execution of two dissidents.

Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi said the January 28 hangings of Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour were aimed at scaring people away from taking part in protests anticipated for February 11, when Iran marks the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The opposition leaders, quoted by Karrubi's website, also agreed that the pair executed this week appeared to have been arrested months before the June 12 presidential election and had nothing to do with the violence.