On the 30th of January, 16 more opposition activists were been put on trial in Tehran in connection with post election protests in late December. All of the accused were arrested after clashes between protesters and security forces on Ashura Day, the Shi'ite ritual mourning ceremony, on Dec. 27. The Iranian regime has arrested an estimated 4,000 people, including journalists and reformist politicians, in a massive crackdown in the weeks following the presidential election.
According to Radio Free Europe five of the defendants are accused of being "mohareb" (enemies of God) and "corrupt on earth." Both are crimes punishable by death under the Iranian legal system, which is based on Islamic Shari'a law.
The rest are accused of "gathering and conspiring against security, propaganda against the system, and seeking to harm security by inciting unrest and riot."
Last week two dissidents- Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour were hanged in an effort to bludgeon the opposition into submission. They were convicted of being enemies of God and plotting to topple the Islamic regime. Arash Rahmani Pour's father who is a lawyer publicly denounced the execution as unjust and the court proceedings as a sham.
Two top Iranian opposition leaders-Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Moussav-i have called on supporters to protest on February 11, the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Today Iran has launched a rocket into orbit carrying what state-owned Al-Alam television describes as an "experimental capsule". Western politicians have focussed on this event and made threatening noises. Sadly they have failed to pressurise Iran on its show trials. Once more the West has been found wanting. It is interesting to see that there are no Western threats directed at the Iranian regime for its appalling human rights record.