Iran protesters face death

Five people arrested after Iran’s disputed presidential election have been condemned to death and another 81 jailed, some for as long as 15 years, according to state television’s website.

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“So far 89 people have been tried, five of whom have been sentenced to death and 81 given jail terms of between six months and 15 years,” the report cited a statement from Tehran’s provincial justice ministry as saying.

The five sentenced to death were convicted of “having relations with or membership in anti-revolutionary, terrorist or opposition groups,” it added.

The verdicts are not final and can be appealed, the statement said, adding that the convicts will be identified after finalisation of the decrees.

The defendants were tried on such charges as “war against God, action against the country’s security, propaganda against the Islamic republic, vandalism and participation or cooperation in beating people and security forces.”

Three of them were acquitted and three of those ordered jailed have received suspended sentences, the statement said.

Deadly street rallies broke out after its June 12 presidential vote, with protesters claiming Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election was rigged.

About 4,000 people were arrested, and 140 of them, including senior reformers and journalists, were showed on state televison in mass trials charged with seeking a “soft” overthrow of the regime.

Under Iranian law, convicts may appeal their sentences, which must be upheld by both the appeals court and the supreme court before they are carried out.


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