Iranian election protesters face trial this week

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The Independent Online

About 20 Iranians detained during protests over the disputed presidential election will face trial this weekend, on charges including bombings, carrying weapons and attacking security forces.

The trials were announced yesterday as anger grew even among some government supporters over abuse of those arrested.

Released prisoners have told of beatings and brutality during their detention. One said he was crammed with 200 others in a pitch-black cell as guards waded in and beat them. Others claimed they were forced to lick toilet bowls.

In recent days, several young activists have died in prison, including the son of a prominent conservative. The opposition says detainees are being tortured into making false confessions.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was re-elected in last month's poll that the opposition says was rigged, has reportedly ordered that all prisoners not accused of serious offences are freed by 7 August.

The defeated opposition leader, Mirhossein Mousavi, will today lead a ceremony for the estimated 100 people killed in the government crackdown.

The ceremony, timed to coincide with the passing of 40 days since the death of Nada Agha Soltan, a young woman who was filmed being shot dead, will take place in a Tehran cemetery.

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