Saturday, June 10, 2006

Individuals Arrested for Disrupting Rafsanjani’s Meeting Released

Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online:
Six individuals arrested on charges of disrupting a meeting in the religious town of Qom where former president and current chairman of the powerful State Expediency Council that monitors and coordinates the work of the 3 branches of the Islamic government Hashemi Rafsanjani was delivering were released less than 24 hours after their detention.. These individuals had chanted harsh slogans against Rafsanjani while his talk was nationally televised.

Based on available information, two of the six arrested individuals were clerics and members of Imam Khomeini Research Centre chaired by hardline Qom cleric Mesbah Yazdi. Rafsanjani's office was informed on Tuesday morning that he could file charges against the individuals, which he has apparently decided not to carry out. The individuals were released on bail. READ MORE

Some observers have expressed their suspicion that the prosecutor of Qom, where ayatollah Yazdi is based, may have had something to do with such a rapid release of the detainees. He announced that the detainees could only be kept in prison if there was a private complaint against the individuals who disrupted the meeting. In the past, similar attacks would end up with the perpetrators being charged of spreading propaganda against the Islamic regime, acting against the national security of the country and offending political and religious figures.

It is worth mentioning that on many occasions such as arrests of journalists; the prosecutors have taken measures such as suspension of publications and imprisonment of the accused. In a similar incident, when Hashemi Rafsanjani was shot in Imam Khomeini's mausoleum on 1985, the accused were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In that case Rafsanjani had not filed a private complaint.

Hussein Shariatmadari, the editor of hardline Keyhan daily wrote in its yesterday's editorial that the detained were foreign agents or reformists who opposed Hashemi Rafsanjani and aimed at bringing a confrontational response from the powerful politician.