Iran General NewsIran 'jails opposition leader Mohsen Aminzadeh'

Iran ‘jails opposition leader Mohsen Aminzadeh’

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ImageBBC: An Iranian opposition leader has been jailed for six years for his role in the unrest following June's disputed presidential election, reports say. BBC News

ImageAn Iranian opposition leader has been jailed for six years for his role in the unrest following June's disputed presidential election, reports say.

Mohsen Aminzadeh was convicted of organising protests, disturbing security and spreading propaganda against the system, his lawyer said.

He was a prominent supporter of the defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Meanwhile, opposition websites say nine journalists have been detained in the past two days, taking the total to 55.

There has so far been no confirmation from the Iranian government.

'Rights violation'

Correspondents say the authorities are tense ahead of the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Thursday.

Opposition supporters have called for widespread anti-government protests to coincide with official rallies. The police have meanwhile warned that opposition demonstrations will be firmly confronted.

In December, eight people were killed in clashes at demonstrations on Ashura, one of the holiest days in the Shia Muslim calendar.

In a joint statement, the US and the European Union expressed concern about "continuing human rights violations in Iran" since the election and about the possibility of further violence as the revolution's anniversary is marked.

"The large scale detentions and mass trials, the threatened execution of protesters, the intimidation of family members of those detained and the continuing denial to its citizens of the right to peaceful expression are contrary to human rights norms," the statement said.

Appeal

Speaking to the semi-official Isna news agency on Monday, Mr Aminzadeh's lawyer said his client had been sentenced to six years in prison by a branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

"He was charged with organising gatherings and disturbing the country's security, as well as spreading propaganda against the system by giving interviews to foreign channels," Abbas Shiri was quoted as saying.

"Rejecting the charges, I will submit the appeal within the legal period," he added.

Mr Aminzadeh, a former deputy foreign minister under President Mohammed Khatami and a leading member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, was head of the opposition coalition's headquarters, according to Isna.

He was arrested a week after the 12 June presidential election, the result of which prompted millions to take to the streets demanding a re-run in the largest demonstrations in Iran since 1979.

Mr Mousavi's Green Movement said the poll had been rigged to ensure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a charge the government denied.

At least 30 protesters have been killed in clashes since the election, although the opposition says more than 70 have died.

More than 80 people have been jailed for up to 15 years – including former government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh, former vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi and former deputy economy minister Mohsen Safaie Farahani. Some 200 activists remain in detention.

Last month, two alleged members of a banned monarchist group were executed. Human rights groups condemned the hangings, accusing Iran of staging show trials and of seeking to intimidate the opposition.

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