Iran 'frees Dubai journalist'

Tehran's chief prosecutor says it has freed a Syrian journalist working for Dubai television who was detained two weeks ago.

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TEHRAN // Iran today freed a Syrian journalist working for Dubai television who was detained during anti-government protests two weeks ago, Tehran's chief prosecutor was quoted as saying. "This Syrian journalist was freed from jail this morning," the Tehran general prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told the semi-official Fars News Agency. The same official had said on Saturday that Iran planned to release the journalist. Eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi on Ashura, a day of ritual Shi'ite mourning that fell on December 27. It was the worst violence since protests in the immediate aftermath of a disputed presidential election in June.

Opposition protesters say the vote was rigged in favour of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which the government denies. The opposition website Rahesabz said on Wednesday that more than 180 people, including 17 journalists, 10 Mousavi aides and some members of the outlawed Baha'i faith, were arrested in the aftermath of the December 27 protests. A European diplomat was held for 24 hours. Mr Dolatabadi today said the diplomat was Swedish. "This diplomat at the Swedish embassy in Tehran was arrested by security forces during the unrest on Ashura, but he was released after his identity was verified," Mr Dolatabadi told Fars.

He said on Friday that five detainees whom Iran plans to try in connection with last month's anti-government protests were members of the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), an exile group opposed to Iran's Islamic system of government. Separately, an opposition website today said about 30 "mourning mothers", with children who were killed or disappeared during the post-election unrest, were arrested in a Tehran park on Saturday and taken to a detention centre in the capital. The mothers gather in Tehran's Laleh park every Saturday, the Kaleme website said. The report could not be independently verified. * Reuters