» 08/18/2009, 00.00
Iran's new head of the judiciary says he will prosecute those who torture prisoners
Appointed by the supreme leader, Sadeq Lariani, brother of parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, is considered a close Khamenei ally and a possible conservative alternative to the president. A top revolutionary guard official wants Mousavi, Khatami and Karroubi to be put on trial. A cleric calls for Karroubi to be punished with 80 lashes.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – Sadeq Larijani, new head of Iran's judiciary, said he would follow the guidelines laid down by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei against anyone involved in torturing prisoners. Appointed to the post by the supreme leader himself, the new head (pictured here between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad) is the brother of parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, and is considered a close ally of Khamenei and a possible alternative to the Iranian president among conservatives.
His appointment appears to be a move by the supreme leader in his ongoing tug-of-war with President Ahmadinejad to counter the latter’s growing power based in the Pasdaran (revolutionary guards) and the Basij (revolutionary volunteers).
The head of Iran’s judiciary plays an important role in the country’s power structure. This is clearly evinced in recent developments.
On Sunday Yadollah Jvanai, a top Pasdaran official, said he wanted to see pro-reform leaders Mousavi, Khatami and Karroubi put on trial for organising a “velvet revolution” against the regime. His call was published in Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, a fact that is significant.
Similarly, a prominent cleric, Ahmad Khatami, called on Monday for opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi to be whipped for failing to prove his claims that some protesters were raped or tortured in Evin and Kahrizak prisons, the latter closed on Khamenei’s orders. Islam prescribes “80 lashes” for such actions, the Kayhan newspaper quoted the cleric as saying.
For his part, during his swearing-in ceremony Sadeq Larijani warned anyone who might be tempted to use violence against prisoners that they would suffer consequences, thus backing somewhat reformist claims.
“Nobody should dare to make a ruling against the law or violate civil rights, and such persons (violators) should be aware that sooner or later they will be brought to justice, and in this important position I will not show leniency toward any of them,” state TV quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile pro-reform leaders are trying to take advantage of the conflict within the conservative camp by claiming that they are the true heirs to the ideals of the Islamic Republic.
Speaking at Sadeq Larijani’s inauguration ceremony, former President Rafsanjani warned against the consequences of "unjust" judicial decisions which could lead society “into chaos.”
Another pro-reform former president, Mohammad Khatami, said that “We are real protectors of the Islamic Republic, not those who showed in recent months that they are uprooting the republic and the Islamic nature of the establishment”. (PD)
Tehran unrest during Ashura leaves 15 dead
Five of the dead belong to the security forces; ten are opposition demonstrators, including a nephew of opposition leader Mousavi. Unrest is reported in many Iranian cities. People are increasingly willing to face live ammunition and truncheons to oppose the dictatorship and Khamenei’s regime. However, the green wave is leaderless; its chiefs appear too hesitant. New demonstrations and clashes are expected today.
Mousavi headquarters raided in Tehran, computers seized
The government noose around pro-reform leader is getting tighter. One of his closest aides is arrested, whilst he is de facto under house arrest. According to his website, “another phase of restrictions has started”.
Iranian elections heat up as outcome remains uncertain
Tensions are rising in Iran after former President Rafsanjani sent a letter to the supreme leader attacking Ahmadinejad. A Revolutionary Guards chief warns reformers whilst the only newspaper openly backing reform-minded Mousavi is shut down. Voting will take place tomorrow and results are expected on Saturday. Outcome is still uncertain.
Under pressure, Ahmadinejad calls for the release of demonstrators in Tehran
About 140 prisoners have already been released. For the past several days the opposition has complained about violence and torture. A prison is shut down on order of Supreme Leader Khamenei. Authorities deny opposition the right to hold a rally to commemorate post-election crackdown victims. Iranian president is attacked by Conservatives for not obeying Khamenei.
Tehran steps up crackdown as protest continues
Mousavi and Kharroubi describe current government as “illegitimate”, call for a strike. Khatami and some ayatollahs back them. The regime threatens to indict Mousavi, shuts down Kharroubi’s newspaper and opens an investigation into doctor who tried to save Neda. Rumours are circulating that some protesters have been hanged. Ahmadinejad cancels trip to African summit.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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