Dispute between Ahmadinejad, judiciary grows over prison visit

Oct 24 2012, 01:09 IST
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SummaryAhmadinejad referred to a range of articles in the Iranian Constitution that explain the powers of the president.

A long and bitter rivalry between Iran’s president and an influential band of brothers in the political hierarchy exploded into the open on Monday, signaling new fractures in the facade of unity as the country confronts worsening economic conditions and isolation over the disputed Iranian nuclear program.

In a letter published by Iranian news sites, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the head of the powerful judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, of protecting “certain individuals” from prosecution for economic corruption who are widely understood to be high officials, including Ayatollah Larijani’s oldest brother.

Ahmadinejad also demanded access to Tehran’s Evin prison, to visit his press adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr who has been held for nearly a month. Ahmadinejad referred to a range of articles in the Iranian Constitution that explain the powers of the president.

The accusation escalated a simmering conflict between Ahmadinejad and opponents among influential clerics, parliamentarians and commanders. It followed a decision announced on Sunday by Iran’s judiciary to deny him access to the prison — a humiliating slap at the president’s authority.

Ahmadinejad, in his letter, emphasised his position as the most important directly elected official in the country. He also insisted that under Iran’s Constitution the president has the right to visit a prison.

Analysts said Ahmadinejad’s public attack on the Larijani brothers reflected his apparent preparation for an increasingly public fight with political enemies. The outcome could determine his influence after his second term ends in July 2013.

Was paid to ‘bait’ Muslims: NYPD informant

A paid informant for the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit has revealed that he was under orders to “bait” fellow Muslims into saying inflammatory things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam.

Shamiur Rahman, 19, a US citizen of Bengali descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called “create and capture.” He believes his work as an informant was “detrimental to the Constitution”.

Since his quitting, Rahman said his NYPD handler “Steve” stopped sending him texts.

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