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Iran Torture Trials Begin

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TEHRAN, Iran — The trial in Iran opened Tuesday for 12 suspects accused of torturing to death three anti-government protesters tortured in prison during the turmoil following the June elections, the official news agency reported.

Iran's judiciary last year charged 12 officials at Kahrizak prison for involvement in the death of three protesters detained there in July.

The IRNA report did not identify any of the suspects, saying the judge has banned reporting details of the trial. The opening sessions will hear the complaints and charges against the men.

In January, a parliamentary probe found a former Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, responsible for the torture death of the three in Kahrizak detention center in the capital.

There has been no word of any action to punish Mortazavi so far and he currently heads a government body tasked with fighting smuggling of goods.

Anger over the abuse emerged in August, after influential conservative figures in the clerical hierarchy condemned the mistreatment of detainees. The outrage forced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to order the immediate closure of the Kahrizak.

The confirmation by the hard-line judiciary of the prisoner deaths proved one of the most devastating claims against authorities over their treatment of protesters.

The opposition says more than 80 protesters have been killed in the postelection crackdown, but the government puts the number of confirmed dead at less than 40.

Authorities initially denied the abuse claims, accusing the opposition of running a campaign of lies against the ruling system.

The unrest broke out after pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi claimed he was robbed of the presidency through massive fraud in the vote.

One of the detainees who died in custody was the son of Abdolhossein Rouhalamini, a top aide to conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei. Rouhalamini's death, two weeks after he was arrested, sparked anger even among government supporters.

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