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Iran says to free 100 more people held in unrest
Wed Jul 8, 2009 10:45am EDT
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By Fredrik Dahl
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Two thirds of people detained during post-election unrest in Tehran last month have already been freed and another 100 will soon be released, Iran's police chief was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
"One hundred more will be released in the next two days," state broadcaster IRIB quoted Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam as saying in the northwestern city of Qazvin.
The same official last week said 1,032 people were detained in the capital following the disputed June 12 presidential election, but that most had since been let go.
Official results of the vote showing hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won by a landslide triggered days of mass street protests by supporters of defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, a moderate who says the election was rigged.
State media say at least 20 people were killed as protesters clashed with riot police and members of the Basij militia. The authorities and Mousavi blame each other for the bloodshed. Hardliners have called for Mousavi to be put on trial.
Rights activists have said 2,000 detained during the vote's turbulent aftermath may still be held across Iran, including leading reformers, academics, journalists and students.
But a reformist member of parliament quoted Iran's general prosecutor as saying 2,000 out of 2,500 detained had been freed and that the remaining cases would be referred to the judiciary.
The MP, Mohammadreza Tadesh, was quoted by a reformist website as making the statement on Wednesday after a meeting with the prosecutor, Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi.
WORLD'S "FREEST" ELECTION
Mousavi has demanded the release of "children of the revolution," referring to many detained establishment figures.
They include a former vice president and other former officials who held senior positions during the 1997-2005 presidency of Mohammad Khatami, who backed Mousavi's campaign.
The authorities accuse the West, particularly the United States and Britain, of inciting unrest in the Islamic Republic following the election, which led to the most widespread street protests in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Security forces quelled the demonstrations but Mousavi and allies have refused to back down, saying Ahmadinejad's next government would be illegitimate.
The authorities reject vote rigging allegations. Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday it had been the world's "freest" election.
Iran's main moderate party, Islamic Iran's Participation Front, called on Wednesday for the immediate release of its detained members and other people arrested because of their activities in support of moderate candidates in the election. Continued...
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