Ally of Iran's Mousavi detained, say websites

An ally of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi has been detained, reformist websites said, in the latest move signalling increased pressure by the authorities on pro-reform foes of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mousavi’s website quoted the wife of Alireza Hosseini Beheshti, who heads an opposition committee looking into alleged abuse of imprisoned protesters after the disputed June election, as saying he was arrested in his home on Tuesday.

The wife, who was not named, said five security agents raided the place and searched “everywhere, even the bedroom” for several hours and seized personal belongings and documents before taking Beheshti away.

The family was treated in an “impolite way”, she added.

He is the son of Ayatollah Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti, who was head of Iran’s supreme court for about a year after its 1979 Islamic revolution and killed in a 1981 bombing attack.

There was no immediate comment from officials on the report.

Another reformist website, mowjcamp.com, also said Beheshti had been arrested. On Tuesday it said a top aide of pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi, former Tehran mayor Morteza Alviri, had been detained.

Also on Tuesday, judiciary officials closed down Karoubi’s office in northern Tehran and seized documents and computer data discs, the ILNA news agency reported earlier.

Beheshti has issued estimates of the number of people killed in post-election unrest that are much higher than the official death toll of about 26 people. The opposition says more than 70 people died during street protests after the vote.

Abuse allegation
Mousavi and Karoubi, who finished second and fourth respectively in the election, say the poll was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
The authorities deny the charge.

The hardline president shored up his position last week when parliament approved most of his new government ministers, after almost three months of political turmoil in the world’s No. 5 crude exporter.

Karoubi, whose newspaper was closed down three weeks ago, angered hardliners in early August by saying some imprisoned protesters were raped and abused in jail.

The authorities have rejected the allegation as baseless. The judiciary and Parliament have agreed to look into the issue.

Karoubi said on his party’s website this week he had handed over films and other material about abuse of three detainees to a special investigative parliamentary committee.

The election and its turbulent aftermath plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposing deepening divisions within its ruling elites and adding to tension with the West.

Rights groups say thousands of people, including senior pro-reform figures, were arrested after the presidential poll almost three months ago. Most of them have been freed but more than 200 remain in jail, according to the opposition.—Reuters

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