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Iran seeks death sentence for five of exile rebel group


Tehran: The prosecution Monday demanded the death sentence for five detained Iranian demonstrators, state media reported.

The five who were arrested in last month’s protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are reportedly linked to the exile opposition group People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI).

The prosecutor charged the five with enmity with God and demanded the maximum punishment.

The judiciary had said in a statement last week that five of at least 300 Iranian demonstrators who were PMOI members and arrested last month would face trial on riot charges in the Revolutionary Court, which is in charge of offences against national security.

The charge enmity with God is usually punished in Iran with a death sentence.

Iran regards the PMOI as a terrorist group after implicating it in the assassinations of several high-ranking Iranian officials, including the president and prime minister in 1980.

The United States also has listed the PMOI as a terrorist group, but it was removed from the European Union’s terrorism list this year after a legal battle.

Iran’s judiciary in October issued death sentences against five other demonstrators, reportedly PMOI members and monarchists.

Widespread protests started after June’s disputed presidential race, which led to the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but was overshadowed by fraud charges.

More than 150 students, journalists, dissidents and even former officials are charged with plotting to undermine the Islamic establishment and more than 80 of them were sentenced to prison terms of six months to 15 years.