August 1, 2009

Iran: Low Lights from the Show Trial

** ADDS ID OF PERSON SECOND FROM RIGHT ** In this photo released by the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency, former vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi, second from right, is seen with other defendants sit at a court room in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009. Opposition political activists and protesters stood trial in Tehran Saturday on charges of rioting and conspiring against the ruling system in the country's first trial following the disputed presidential election, Iran's state media reported. (AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Hossein Salehi Ara) EDITORS NOTE AS A RESULT OF AN OFFICIAL IRANIAN GOVERNMENT BAN ON FOREIGN MEDIA COVERING SOME EVENTS IN IRAN, THE AP WAS PREVENTED FROM INDEPENDENT ACCESS TO THIS EVENT

I could only wince looking at this screen shot from the Iranian show trial.

It’s not just the sideways glance and the wary, haggard look of former V.P. Ali Abtahi (3rd right) who, it’s pretty clear, was forced to renounce the reformers. It’s also a.) the 1-to-1 pairing of the pajamas with their minders, b.) the look of the defendants lined up three rows behind him, the guy one behind resourcefully stealing a look at the camera to say, “this stinks,” c.) the fact the minder far left seems to be either curious about his charge, or about where Ali Abtahi is looking, and d.) the fact Ali Abtahi holds his statement on the minder’s side.

(image: Hossein Salehi Ara/Fars News Agency/AP photo. Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009)

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Michael Shaw
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