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Official Claims 70 Detainees Have Been Released

Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Theran's prosecutor
Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Theran's prosecutor

Tehran Prosecutor-General said on Sunday, January 7 that 70 of the detained protesters have been released on bail during the last 48 hours.

Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi added that there would be more releases from detention, except for the main instigators of the riots who will be "dealt with seriously."

As the Islamic Republic routinely handles political detentions with secrecy, it is not possible to verify such claims. So far no names of detainees or accurate numbers have been released and no independent sources have confirmed the release of detainees.

Tehran public prosecutor also said that the main cases regarding the recent protests, including setting the Iranian flag on fire, overturning a firefighting vehicle and attacks on military centers and police stations, have to be addressed at the earliest, government-run news agency, IRNA cited Jafari Dolatabadi as saying.

However, he did not say how many persons are still behind bars charged with participating in protests. Hundreds have been detained so far and 90% of them are 25-year old or younger.

Police, security and judiciary officials of the Islamic establishment in recent days have said that between 1000 to more than 1,800 were detained during the widespread protests. Nevertheless, rights activists and independent sources believe that the number of the detainees is much higher than what has officially been admitted.

Authorities have put the death toll at 22.

Repeating the claims of Supreme Leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the uprising was instigated by “hostile governments”, Jafari Dolatabadi maintained, “The judges are required to differentiate between those who were deceived and the leaders of the violent protests in some Iranian cities over the past week”.

Meanwhile, the frequently used claim that foreign governments, including US, UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia triggered the protests has been dismissed as ridiculous and unfounded by scores of analysts, as well as by some reformists loyal to the theocracy in Iran.

An outspoken political science professor in Tehran, Sadeq Zibakalam urged the Islamic establishment to leave “conspiracy theory” and “imaginary foreign enemies” behind, and seek a remedy for people’s unbearable pains.

Jafari Dolatabadi did not elaborate as how the legal cases of the detainees will be handled; whether they would be allowed to have independent attorneys or not.

Many families in recent days have rallied in front of the Islamic Republic’s detention centers, including Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, hoping to receive some information about their loved ones who have disappeared during the uprising.

The protests, which vented anger at high unemployment and official corruption, were the largest seen in Iran since the disputed 2009 presidential election, and some demonstrators called for the overthrow of the government.

Authorities have said in the past few days that the protests are waning but still every day in the evening and during the night hours numerous protests take place in different cities.