Iran assassination trial reopens
TEHRAN, May 3 (Reuters) - Suspects in the assassination attempt against
pro-reform strategist and presidential aide Saeed Hajjarian returned to
court on Wednesday, one day after their alleged victim was released from
The official IRNA news agency said the case resumed in a Tehran Revolutionary
Court in the trial of eight young men, including the accused triggerman
in the gangland-style shooting on March 12 that left Hajjarian with a bullet
lodged near his spinal chord.
In the first hearing, on April 25, gunman Saeed Asgar told the court
he meant only to send a warning to Hajjarian when he pumped a single slug
into his head at close range.
Reformist allies of Hajjarian, one of the leading lights of the movement
for change grouped around President Mohammad Khatami, say the young men
on trial are scapegoats for the masterminds of the attack.
They blame hardline clerics for painting Hajjarian as an apostate for
his progressive views on Islam and civil society, creating an atmosphere
in which young fanatics felt it was acceptable to gun him down.
On Tuesday, President Khatami welcomed Hajjarian shortly after the latter
left hospital for the first time since the March 12 shooting.
``The worst form of murder and violence is when bullets confront ideas,''
IRNA quoted the president as saying. ``Nothing will be able to block the
movement of a nation which seeks reforms and social renewal based on its
(1979 Islamic) revolution.''
State television showed Hajjarian sitting in his wheelchair, surrounded
by doctors and relatives.