Jewish teen on trial in Iran


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Iran will try a Jewish teenager during a mass trial of opposition supporters.

Yaghoghil Shaolian, 19, is among 25 defendants whose trial opened Sunday for their involvement in protests following the June 12 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Many in Iran and the international community have said the vote was rigged for Ahmadinejad.

About 135 defendants have been brought to trial in large groups. They are accused of participating in illegal demonstrations, vandalism and  "following the line of foreign media," according to the indictment, the French news agency AFP reported.

Shaolian was arrested after throwing stones at a bank in central Tehran, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing the Fars news agency. Shaolian told Fars he was not an activist but was swept along by the protesters.

The AP cited Iran’s only Jewish lawmaker, Siamak Mereh Sedq, as saying Shaolian’s arrest was not related to his religion. The lawmaker confirmed that Shaolian is Jewish.

About 25,000 Jews live in Iran, the largest Middle East Jewish community next to Israel.

Opposition leaders have called the trials "show trials," as did the United States. Several hundred protesters remain in prison.

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