Iranian parliament holds senior official responsible for protester deaths
Top Story: An a rare criticism of a senior government official, an Iranian parliamentary panel has accused former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of complicity in the beating deaths of three opposition protesters last summer.
According to the report, Mortazavi ordered that 147 protesters be sent to Kahrizak prison near Tehran and insisted on "keeping them for four days in a space of 750 square feet, without ventilation in the heat of summer, lack of hygienic standards, food and water, in addition to beating and intimidation by prison guards." One of the protesters killed was the son of a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards. The report also dismissed Mortazavi's claim that the prisoners were killed in an outbreak of meningitis.
Mortazavi, who was well known for his crackdowns on opposition media and the jailing of journalists, was promoted to deputy state prosecutor in August. His arrest is likely an effort to pacify the opposition. Many Iranians were outraged when reports of prisoner abuse emerged last Summer. "Mortazavi is the highest official the parliament could accuse without getting in trouble," Abbas Abdi, a former journalist whose papers were closed by Mortazavi told the Washington Post.
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