Iranian Cleric Says Protesters Should Be Ruthlessly And Savagely Punished
By VOA News
A senior Iranian cleric has called on the
government to harshly punish leaders of the country's post-election protests. In
a sermon at Tehran University on Friday, Ahmad Khatami said rioters should be
dealt with cruelly and without mercy. He also accused foreign journalists of
fomenting the demonstrations.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami delivers Friday prayer sermon, at Tehran
University campus, 26 Jun 2009 -
Khatami, a member of the Assembly of
Experts, said the judiciary should charge the leading "rioters" as
being "mohareb" or one who wages war against God. "They should be
punished ruthlessly and savagely," he said. Under Iran's Islamic
law, punishment for people convicted as mohareb is execution (read
report by Reuters)
Authorities have cracked down on massive protests led by defeated presidential
candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who alleges the vote was rigged. At least 17
people have been killed in clashes with security forces and hundreds have been
Friday, Iran's top legislative body rejected allegations of fraud, calling the
disputed June 12 presidential election the cleanest vote the country has ever
The official IRNA news agency said the Guardian Council found no major
violations in the vote which declared incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
the winner by a large margin.
Both the Guardian Council and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have
said the results will not be annulled.
Mousavi vowed on Thursday to resist pressure to end his challenge of the
election outcome. He also urged supporters to continue protests in a way that
will not create tension.
Friday, opposition supporters paid tribute to a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan,
killed during demonstrations.
With the post-election demonstrations, Iran has seen the largest unrest since
the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iranian authorities have been maintaining a heavy police presence in the streets
to disperse crowds.
Iran's crackdown has included heavy restrictions on reporting and the arrest of
university professors, journalists and ordinary citizens.
The official death toll from post-election violence is 17, but witnesses say it
is much higher. State media reported Thursday that eight members of the
pro-government Basij militia also were killed. The figures cannot be verified
because Iran has severely restricted news organizations' abilities to report
from the country.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP,
AP and Reuters.
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