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First woman editor jailed in Iran out on bail

TEHRAN, Oct 18 (AFP) - The first woman newspaper editor jailed in Iran, Jaleh Oskui, has been released on bail, a journalist on her weekly Penj-Shanbeh-ha (Thursdays) told AFP Monday.

Oskui, 40, who was jailed last week for repeatedly publishing "outrageous" articles, was released late Saturday "after providing some 83,000 dollars bail," the journalist said.

"She is feeling fine, but was not treated very well," the journalist said without giving further details.

"She is free until her trial, but the date is unknown," the staffer said, adding that the weekly "will not be published until the judiciary has reached a decision."

The culture ministry announced last Monday that it had asked Iran's press court to order the closure of the paper.

Newspaper reports said Oskui was facing 11 accusations of violating Iran's tough press laws but did not specify the nature of the charges.

The paper has come under fire for "exploiting for commercial gain" a student revue which is accused of mocking the belief of Iran's Shiite Muslims in a hidden 12th imam or Mahdi who will return to usher in an age of justice.

Iran's conservative-dominated judiciary has cracked down this year on the pro-reform press that supports President Mohammad Khatami, closing four leading pro-Khatami papers and arresting or jailing dozens of journalists.

(In a statement received in Nicosia last week, Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) expressed concern over Oskui's arrest charging that it was an "arbitrary detention" and a "violation of press freedom" because she had "not undergone a fair trial.")


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