Former Iranian Prez Lashes 'Show Trial'
Khatami accuses government of murdering protesters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 2, 2009 10:30 AM CDT
Opposition politicians and protesters stood trial in Tehran Saturday on charges of rioting and conspiring against the ruling system in the first trial following the disputed presidential election.   (Hossein Salehi Ara)
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(Newser) – The reformist former president of Iran blasted the country's extraordinary mass trial of activists and protesters as a sham that would undermine the country's ruling regime, reports the AP. Mohammad Khatami, president from 1997 to 2005, said he hoped the "show trial" would not "lead to ignorance of the real crimes" carried out by authorities following the June 12 vote, including alleged abuse and murder of detainees.

The mass trial is part of Iran's efforts to choke off the protest movement by targeting key supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, including a former vice president and several other prominent reformists. According to state media, several defendants confessed in the court to working together to foment unrest. But rights groups have said such confessions are often obtained under duress in Iran.