Iranian protesters some released, some to stand trial, some tortured, some dead

We’ve had Shirin Ebadi – Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of Iran’s most high-profile human rights activists – visiting Amnesty’s International HQ in London this week. Look out for an interview with her on Channel 4 News tonight. In a joint statement with Amnesty’s Secretary General Irene Khan, she said:

'My colleagues have been rounded up because of their work to promote justice and the rule of law, and to defend the human rights of people in Iran. 'They are now languishing in jail like so many others in my country because they stand up for universal values – the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to register one's protest peacefully without fear of arrest or attack by strong-arm forces like the Basij.'

140 demonstrators were released yesterday and trials of others are due to start this weekend.Worryingly (though sadly unsurprisingly) many detainees have reported torture and abuse. Some detainees have died. Read this (unsubstantiated) account of torture and appalling conditions in Kahrizak.

One also has to question how fair any trials can be if confessions have been tortured from people.

Yet protests continue and the story simply will not go away for the Iranian authorities – tomorrow there will be more protests to mark 40 days since Neda Soltani was killed. Some tweets – the #iranelections hashtag is still very lively on Twitter – are saying that Khamenei has ordered that no-one should be harmed. I hope this is true but I can't verify it at all.

 President Ahmedinejad is due to be inaugurated next week and this is sure to spark yet further protests, give the numbers still questioning the legitimacy of his election.

The popular movement for human rights and democracy in Iran is  continuing to stand up to the government’s attempts to crush it. If reports of torture and abuse of detainees get circulated in Iran – and I hope they will –  they are only going to fan the flames further.

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