Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Iran: "We are innocent, unrecognized prisoners"

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

Jailed Iranian Protesters Reject Charges, Urge Release

A group of prisoners at Tehran's Evin prison have written an open letter in which they reject government allegations of them having links with foreign countries or political parties, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The letter was written to coincide with Norouz, the Persian new year, on March 21. It was recently published on the reformist Kalame website.

The website says the authors are ordinary citizens, specifically not political activists, who were detained in the crackdown that followed Iran's disputed presidential election last June.

"Here in Evin [prison] we cannot hear the sounds of spring," they wrote. "We are innocent, unrecognized prisoners, who thought we would be released before [the Persian] New Year's Eve and [would] spend that time with our families."

In the letter, the Evin prison detainees categorically reject any linkage with foreign powers or domestic political groups. The detainees describe themselves as ordinary citizens caught up in the postelection crackdown.

They say that they were sentenced to prison simply for protesting the election results.

Authorities arrested hundreds of participants in Iran's postelection opposition protests. While some have been released, others remain incarcerated. Many of those still in jail have yet to be formally charged.

The Kalame website has links with the official runnerup candidate in last year's controversial election, Mir Hossein Musavi.

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