Protests against Ahmadinejad – Long detention sentence for Iranian scientist


Published in “Die ZEIT” on October 21, 2009


Again, a member of the opposition in Iran has been convicted. The scientist faces many years of detention

As the official news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday, Kian Tajbakhsh’s attorney had said that the sentence amounts to more than 12 years. He announced that he would appeal against the judgement imposed on the American-Iranian scientist. The U.S. State Department called the accusations against Tajbakhsh baseless and demanded his immediate release. A ministry spokesman said, according to his information, the penalty amounts to 15 years.

Tajbakhsh, a scientist specialized in town planning, together with 100 other persons had been detained in August and is charged with infringement of national security.The presidential elections of June 12 had resulted in Iran’s severest domestic crisis since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The opposition claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election to be illegitimate. Shortly after the election, severe unrests had taken place.

During the protests, which in parts were violent, against the disputed re-election of incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the brutal force used by the security forces, many people were killed. The opposition claims more than 70 deaths. Apart from that, about 4000 protesters were detained. Almost 100 of them are still in prison, 3 have been sentenced to death.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussawi has to cope with new resistance. On Tuesday, 100 members of the Iranian parliament had called for legal action against Moussavi in response to his protests after the presidential election. In a letter to the Prosecutor’s Department it says that Moussavi had caused damage to the Islamic society. According to news agency IRNA, the signatories of this letter expect more deputies to join them in this action.

Moussavi and former President Mohammad Khatami had pointed out last Friday that the authorities will not be able to stop the protests against the election results. The nation’s demand for democracy was unwaning, they said.


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