Iran's Karoubi firm on fighting jail abuse cases

TEHRAN, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Iranian moderate cleric Mehdi Karoubi said he would not give up fighting for rights of dozens of people complaining of mistreatment after being jailed over the country's disputed election, his website said on Tuesday.

Defeated candidate Karoubi, who finished fourth in the June 12 vote, angered hardliners in August by saying some detained protesters had been raped.

A top judicial investigative committee rejected Karoubi's allegation on Saturday and reportedly called for libel charges to be considered against anyone making such claims.

"I feel obliged to resist and not to give up my fight (for those who have been mistreated in jail)," said Karoubi in a statement published on his Etemademelli website on Tuesday.

"In my worst dreams I could never imagine a day will come when the Islamic Republic reacts to the people's peaceful rallies ... with batons and bullets."

Karoubi and another defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi say the poll was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. Officials reject the charge.

The election and its turbulent aftermath plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis in the past three decades. Rights groups say thousands of people, including senior reformers, were arrested after the poll, though most have been freed.

Hardliners have called for Karoubi to be arrested or charged if he fails to back up his accusations.

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