By Ian Black, Robert Tait & Mark Tran
17 June 2009
Iran was braced for a fifth day of unrest today as the government
intensified its crackdown on opposition figures with the arrest of
dozens of leading critics and issued a further warning against reporting
of the protest movement.
Saeed Laylaz, a leading journalist and a critic of government policy
often quoted by foreign media, was among the latest to be detained, as
protesters prepared for more demonstrations in Tehran.
"Iranian intelligence and security forces are using the public protests
to engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented
individuals whose situations in detention could be life-threatening,"
said Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for the International Campaign for Human
Rights in Iran.
There is also concern for the health of Saeed Hajarian, a former adviser
to Mohammad Khatami and supporter of the opposition candidate Mir
Hossein Mousavi, who was arrested yesterday. Hajarian, who was badly
impaired in both mobility and speech in an assassination attempt nine
years ago, needs constant medical attention and is unlikely to get it in
the current circumstances.
There were also unconfirmed reports that Mohammad Asgari, who was
responsible for the security of the IT network in Iran's interior
ministry, was killed yesterday in a suspicious car accident in Tehran.
Asgari had reportedly leaked evidence that the elections were rigged to
alter the votes from the provinces. Asgari was said to have leaked
information that showed Mousavi had won almost 19m votes, and should
therefore be president.
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