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Iranian Prisoners Demand Probe Of Election Unrest

One of the street protests in Tehran that followed the June 2009 election, which the opposition claimed was marked by massive fraud.
Fourteen political prisoners in Tehran's Evin prison have issued a statement calling for the creation of an independent body to probe the violent unrest that followed last year's Iranian presidential election, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

This week's statement refers to a speech last month at the UN General Assembly by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in which he suggested the September 11 terror attacks in the United States were orchestrated by "some segments within the U.S. government" and stressed the need to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate the attacks.

The prisoners' letter states that Iranians are similarly entitled to expect an investigation into the "national crisis" that followed the June 2009 presidential election.

They say they expect the fact-finding committee to identify "the lawbreakers within Iran's judiciary" and to "clarify the role of Intelligence Ministry officials and military and security forces in the events following the election, as well as their interference in the election results."

U.S.-based political analyst Ali Afshari told Radio Farda on October 11 that the impact of the postelection upheavals on Iranians' lives has definitely been much greater than the September 11 attacks was for most Americans.

Afshari added that if Ahmadinejad really wanted to establish the truth, a fact-finding committee should be formed to determine who beat and killed protesters on the streets, tortured them in jails, and held show trials at which long-term sentences were given, all in order to suppress peaceful popular protests.

"These 14 prisoners rightfully expect the person who wrongfully holds office as the president [of Iran] to resign -- if he is really intent on discovering the truth and believes in justice -- and let the president who was really elected by the people take over," Afshari said.

He also said that issuing a statement from within prison that challenges the Iranian government testifies to the prisoners' courage and helps fuel popular resistance.