Iranian judiciary officials have put several top reformers on trial, including a man considered to be a key leader of the pro-democracy movement.

An Iranian prosecutor Tuesday called for the maximum punishment for defendant and influential intellectual Saeed Hajjarian, who was left partially paralyzed by an assassination attempt in 2000.  A defense statement read on Hajjarian's behalf said he apologized for his actions and announced he would resign from the opposition party that is accused of provoking unrest.     

Tuesday's mass trial is the fourth since protesters were rounded up and held for alleged involvement in turmoil following the disputed June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  

Rights groups call the prosecutions "show trials."  They say defendants have been forced to make false confessions.

Other leading reformists on trial include Iran's former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh, former deputy foreign minister Mohsen Aminzadeh, and former government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh.

Iran has used mass trials to prosecute more than 130 people since the election.  

Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi met with lawmakers Monday, when he discussed allegations that protesters detained after the disputed presidential election were subjected to rape and torture.  Karroubi told a panel charged with investigating the claims that he knew of four victims who are willing to testify but need assurances they will be protected.

The opposition leader's allegations of detainee abuse have angered the country's hardliners, and Iran's parliament speaker has rejected the claims as "baseless."   



Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.