Kangaroo Court

Iran's Mass Trial for Protesters

Days before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be sworn in for his second term, Iranian authorities are beginning a mass trial of more than 100 members of the opposition who have protested the results of the widely disputed presidential election. The protesters are accused of "conspiring with foreign powers to stage a revolution through terrorism," The New York Times reports. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami criticized the trials, calling them “show” trials, and saying he hoped they would not “lead to ignorance of the real crimes.” Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who will not be tried, urged his followers to resume their chants of "God is Great" to protest the trials. Many of the charges come out of a confession by Muhammad Ali Abtahi, a reformist cleric who is also a widely read blogger. In a tearful videotaped confession that human-rights leaders say was most likely forced out of him, Abtahi said the elections weren't fraudulent and that the three opposition leaders "promised to always back each other up," which some are touting as proof of the opposition's malign intent.