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Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 12:03 UK

Iran's Karroubi faces legal move

Iranian cleric Mehdi Karroubi (file image)
Mr Karroubi had claimed his supporters were abused in prison

Iranian pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karroubi may be prosecuted over allegations he made following post-election unrest, state media says.

Mr Karroubi had said that some of his supporters, detained after protests over the presidential poll in which he was a candidate, suffered abuse.

The case will go to a clerical court, state news agency Irna reported.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner but his challengers said the election was rigged.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said that as Mr Karroubi was a cleric "his remarks should be studied at the special court for the clergy".

"But the report of the judiciary panel has been given to us and we are investigating it," he said.

"Some people have also been summoned in connection with the case."

'Sexual assaults'

In August, Mr Karroubi alleged that some of his supporters had been tortured to death while being held in detention after large scale post-election protests.

Opposition supporters protest in Tehran, Iran (16 June 2009)
Thousands of people protested against the result of the June poll

He also called for an investigation into allegations that both male and female detainees were sexually assaulted and raped in prison.

The allegations have been repeatedly denied by the Iranian authorities, but police officials have said that some of those held since June might have been tortured.

Last month, a judiciary panel set up to investigate the allegations said there was no evidence to prove the individuals Mr Karroubi claimed had been abused were raped.

"These allegations are unsubstantiated and documents submitted are totally fabricated and aimed at misleading public opinion," it said, and recommended that those making the allegations be prosecuted.

In September, officials were quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying that one man had died in prison after being beaten.

Irna did not specify which of Mr Karroubi's comments were being investigated by the court.

Mr Ahmadinejad's 12 June re-election was followed by massive street protests over alleged vote-rigging. At least 30 protesters were killed in clashes and thousands were arrested.

Most of those detained have been released, but about 200 remain behind bars and some 110 have been put on trial.

Three opposition activists were sentenced to death on Saturday for their role in the protests.



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