Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Trial of Dissidents in Iran

Robert Worth and Nazila Fathi report on the front page of today's Times (here) about the trial -- which started yesterday -- of more than 100 dissidents in Iran.

Prosecutors allege that the accused individuals conspired with foreigners to use the media to discredit the June presidential elections and foment a revolution. Those on trial include:
  1. Shirin Ebadi - a Nobel laureate
  2. Abbas Milani - a Stanford historian
  3. Muhammad Ali Abtahi - he's third from the right in the photo, and he is a former vice president
Ali Rafsanjani strongly criticized the trial and Mir Hossein Moussavi issued a call for Iranians to resume the nightly chants of "God is great."

Abtahi gave a videotaped "confession," which the article describes as "disjointed and at times almost incoherent." The article implies that Abtahi's confession was coerced ("such confessions, frequently used before, are almost always obtained under duress, according to human rights groups and the defendants themselves"), but it seems carefully worded to not come right out and directly allege coercion. This is interesting -- the Times is walking a tightrope of not feeding into the Iranian government's claim of the Western media having pre-decided who's right and wrong in the current unrest.

The photograph is by Mehr News Agency, via European Pressphoto Agency.

No comments:

Post a Comment