(Reuters) | March 9, 2010

TEHRAN — Iran put 12 policemen on trial in an army court on Tuesday over last summer’s deaths of at least three anti-government protesters at notorious Kahrizak jail, state media reported.

The case has caused major embarrassment to the Islamic republic, which acknowledged, after months of denial, the deaths as a result of injuries inflicted in Kahrizak.

The detention centre was shut down in July at the order of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following reports of abuse.

The first “court session was held with the victims’ families, other plaintiffs and their lawyers and the defendants,” state news agency IRNA said.

“The indictment against the 12 defendants was read out,” it said, without identifying the defendants or specifying the charges.

“Trying some officials should not be interpreted as questioning and ignoring the hard work of police. There might be offending people anywhere,” Judge Mohammad Mosaddegh said.

Mosaddegh warned that the details of court sessions were not to be revealed to the public by those present as “the publication of some information in the case harms order in society.”

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