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'Iran judiciary chief sacks hardline prosecutor'

world Updated: Aug 30, 2009 12:07 IST
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Iran's new judiciary chief has sacked hardline Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, who hunted down scores of journalists and dissidents in his term, media reported on Sunday.

Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani appointed Abbas Jafari Dolat-Abadi as Tehran prosecutor of public and revolutionary courts, the officials IRNA news agency reported.

Jafari Dolat-Abadi was the justice chief in western Khuzestan province. Mortazavi, 42, served as Tehran prosecutor since 2003. "He shut down 120 publications at his time," Sarmayeh newspaper said.

Larijani was named judiciary chief earlier this month as Iran faces its worst crisis since 1979 Islamic revolution over massive protests against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

About 4,000 people were initially arrested and 140, including senior reformers, have stood trial on suspicions of seeking to softly topple the regime.

The opposition has condemned the "show trials" and alleged post-vote detainees have been raped, tortured and coerced into confession.

Larijani has also appointed a new panel to oversee cases linked with post-vote incidents such as the reported attacks on university dormitories and Kahrizak jail shut down amid claims of prisoner abuse.

"It is required that you consistently pursue and oversee the proceedings, identify offenders and main elements and firmly confront them regardless of their ranks," the judiciary chief said to the panel according to IRNA.

On Friday Ahmadinejad sought to divert the blame in these two cases which have sparked an outcry in Iran from Iran's security forces and Islamist militia and claimed they were carried out by the "overthrowing movement."