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Court sentences student to two and a half years over July unrest

TEHRAN, Oct 17 (AFP) - Tehran's revolutionary tribunal has sentenced a student to two and half years in jail in connection with six days of bloody riots which rocked the capital in July, a reformist daily reported Sunday.

Mehdi Fakrzadeh, a student at Tehran's Shahid Rajai University detained since July 17, was denied any legal representation at his trial, the Sobh-e-Emruz daily said.

The student immediately lodged an appeal and is awaiting the hearing, the paper said.

The tribunal's head, Gholamhossein Rahbarpur, announced last month that four alleged ringleaders of the unrest had been sentenced to death at a closed-door hearing.

The shock announcement in an interview with a hardline daily prompted outrage among reformers here, who blame security forces and Islamic vigilantes for sparking the unrest when they stormed a campus rally for press freedom.

Tehran newspapers reported that reformist President Mohammad Khatami had expressed hope that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would pardon the four.

Rahbarpur's announcement was the first news of the outcome of legal proceedings against the roughly 1,500 people officials say were arrested in connection with the Tehran riots.

Another revolutionary court has sentenced 21 people to prison sentences of between three months and nine years in connection with simultaneous disturbances in the big northwestern city of Tabriz.

The riots -- the worst unrest here since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution -- erupted after the police and vigilantes attacked a Tehran university dormitory where students were protesting the closure of a pro-reform newspaper.

Iranian officials said three people were killed in all while students and moderate newspapers said at least five people were killed and dozens injured, many of whom they said were later abducted from Tehran hospitals by the secret police.


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