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EU, Britain, France Condemn Iran Trial

By VOA News - Iran faces international condemnation after opening its second mass trial of political detainees charged with provoking unrest during protests against Iran's disputed presidential election.

Those on trial Saturday included a French woman lecturer and Iranian employees of the French and British embassies in Tehran.

The European Union and Britain condemned Iran for putting on trial French lecturer Clotilde Reiss and the two embassy employees.

The Swedish-led EU presidency said actions against one EU country, citizen or embassy staff member are considered an action against the entire bloc. It demanded the detainees be released immediately.

France urged Iran to free Reiss and French embassy employee Nazak Afshar. The French Foreign Ministry said the espionage charges against the two are baseless.

And Britain's Forein Office criticized Iran for trying British embassy employee Hossein Rassam, who also faces espionage charges.

Reiss is charged with espionage for gathering information about the protests, taking pictures and sending them abroad. The state-run IRNA news agency says she confessed to her "mistakes." Rassam also is said to have confessed that he reported news about the unrest to London.

An Iranian correspondent for the U.S. news magazine Newsweek was also among the defendants at Saturday's trial.

One week ago, more than 100 detainees were brought to court on charges of organizing mass protests and plotting to overthrow the government.

Iranian authorities have arrested thousands of people in a continuing crackdown on opposition activists and protesters who contend the June 12 election was fraudulent.

Moderates and pro-reformists in Iran have condemned the legal proceedings as "show trials." Human-rights groups say any confessions were produced by harsh interrogation techniques.

... Payvand News - 08/09/09 ... --

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