Protesters Decry Iran Detentions

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Al Jazeera - English

Protesters Decry Iran Detentions

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Protesters attend a demonstration on the Global Day of Solidarity for Iran, in Berlin July 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz -GERMANY POLITICS CONFLICT)

Protesters
are taking to the streets in several countries across the globe in
support of opposition Iranian activists detained following last month's
disputed presidential election.

Groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are
backing the global "day of action" on Saturday, calling on Tehran to
end its crackdown on critics of the government.

The demonstrators also want the UN to investigate alleged rights abuses in Iran.

According to organisers, the protests are to be held in 80 cities around the world. 

While
some protests have already taken place in Australia and South
Korea, more are expected to be held across Europe later during the day.

Iranian authorities cracked down on opposition supporters after
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election as president in a June
12 vote triggered violent protests across the country.

'Abuse of power'

Dr Aaron Rhodes, a member
of United for Iran, the coalition organising the global "day of
action", said hundreds of opposition supporters are still imprisoned
without due process, more than a month after the election.

Rhodes told Al Jazeera that a lack of transparency has deprived those detained of their proper rights.

"Our message is very simple," he said.

"We're supporting civil and human rights in Iran and we're calling
upon the government in Iran to cease their abuse of power, cease the
imprisonment of innocent people and the torture of detainees and stop
the violence against people who are simply trying to exercise their
internationally protected human right to peacefully protest."

Though the protests have largely been quelled, political tensions
continue to run high in Iran with the defeated candidates refusing to
accept the result. They say the vote was rigged.

On Saturday, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two defeated
presidential candidates, and Mohammad Khatami, an ex-president seen to
be a critic of Ahmadinejad, jointly called on Iranian clerics to stop
the "oppression" of their supporters.

In a statement posted on Mousavi's website, they said: "We want you,
the top clerics, to remind the authorities of the harmful outcome of
not abiding by the law and prevent them from spreading oppression in
the Islamic republic."

In a separate statement, Karroubi accused
Iranian intelligence agents of handling opposition supporters with
harsher methods than Israelis in the occupied Palestinian territories,
the Reuters news agency reported, citing his website.

"The behaviour of Iran's security agents is worse than those of the
Zionist (Israel) in the occupied Palestine ... Can you put detainees
under mental pressure in mosques, schools and in the basements of
government offices?" Karroubi said in a letter addressed to
Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, Iran's intelligence minister.

'Rabble rousing'

But Kian Mokhtari, an Iranian political commentator, accused leaders like Mousavi of rabble rousing.

"If there is a problem with the elections he should come forward
instead of rabble rousing. He is putting Iranian youth in harms
way," Mokhtari told Al Jazeera.

"Damage to public property is a crime. [Those responsible] will
receive sentences of three to six months and a fine. It is the same in
Europe.

"There are no political prisoners in Iran," he said.

"A few hundred thousand people overseas cannot impose their will on 70 million people in Iran."

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