About 100 Iranian activists and political moderates went on trial
Saturday to face charges related to massive protests following the
controversial presidential election.
The semi-official Fars news agency published images of defendants
sitting in a packed Tehran courtroom, some handcuffed in pairs.
The IRNA news agency says the detainees are accused of conspiring against the ruling system, among other charges.
Reports say some leading political figures on trial have retracted
their claims that the June vote was rigged -- the main rallying point
of opposition demonstrators.
Fars reports reformist former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi said
claims about vote violations in the re-election of President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad were baseless.
Meanwhile, Abtahi's lawyer, Salih Nikbakht, told VOA (Kurdish service)
he was not told about the trial before it started, and says he was barred from entering the courtroom when he arrived.
U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch says some prominent lawyers were
arrested over past weeks to prevent them from representing activists in
The group says authorities have used harsh interrogations and beatings in an effort to extract false confessions from detainees.
According to Fars, some of the major politicians appearing in court
Saturday are former parliament vice-speaker Behzad Nabavi and former
government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh. The full list of defendants
is not known.