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posted February 13, 2001 09:33     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deputy interior minister reappears in court

Deputy interior minister reappears in court

TEHRAN, Feb 12 (AFP) - The deputy interior minister, Mostafa Tajzadeh, reappeared in court Monday after refusing to attend a previous hearing because it was not open to the press.

Journalists from the press were allowed to attend Monday's session of the administrative court trying Tajzadeh for alleged electoral offences.

On Wednesday, Tajzadeh, a close reformist ally of President Mohammad Khatami, refused to appear in court after determining that reporters and photographers were not being admitted to the courtroom.

"I refuse to appear until the legal conditions, that is to say a public hearing, are assured," Tajzadeh said before getting into his car to leave.

The previous two hearings were public, but only journalists belonging to the domestic press were permitted to provide coverage from court. Conservatives who dominate the courts accuse Tajzadeh of bias in last year's legislative elections which saw reformists take control of parliament.

They are calling for him to be banned from any involvement in the presidential elections to be held in June this year, but last month
Interior Minister Abdol-vahed Mussavi-Lari said Tajzadeh would be responsible for those polls.

Tehran governor Ayatollahi Azarmi is also accused of "electoral offences" during the legislative elections, but his trial was postponed Sunday because he had been hospitalised.

Tajzadeh, a longtime target of conservative attacks, is also facing separate charges over his alleged role in unrest last August in the
provincial capital of Khoramabad.

One policeman was killed and dozens of people wounded in several days of clashes in Khoramabad after a mob stormed the city airport to block two liberals from addressing a pro-reform student gathering.

The conservative-run state inspectorate-general put much of the blame for the unrest on reformists, specifically naming Tajzadeh after his ministry issued permits for the conference.

But other investigations by the national security council and the reform-majority parliament largely backed student claims that they had been beaten by militiamen and members of Iran's elite Revoltuionary Guards.

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