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Iran hands down 21 jail terms over provincial unrest

TEHRAN, Sept 16 (AFP) - An Iranian revolutionary court has sentenced 21 people to prison in connection with July's bloody unrest in the provinces, including some linked to the outlawed opposition, newspapers reported Thursday.

The 21 were given prison sentences between three months and nine years for being the main instigators of the disturbances in the provincial capital of Tabriz, which erupted along with six days of riots in Tehran, the Hamshahri paper said.

Twelve are students while several of the others have links to either the outlawed Iraq-based People's Mujahedeen or the banned but tolerated Iran Freedom Movement, the paper reported, citing the head of the revolutionary court in East Azerbaijan province, Najaf Aqazadeh.

He did not give any indication of when or how the 21 had been tried and sentenced, but said nine other people could be added to the list of "main instigators" once the investigation is completed.

Aqazadeh said 260 people were arrested over the Tabriz unrest but that investigators have not yet identified the killer of a theology student in the provincial capital, one of three people Iranian officials have acknowledged died during the disturbances.

Two others were killed in Tehran, according to official figures, while students and moderate papers said at least five people died and dozens more were wounded in the worst unrest here since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

A Tabriz student organization said security forces opened fire on a student sit-in, leaving 15 people with gunshot wounds, including three women. More than 80 others were injured after being beaten with clubs and chains, they said.

Aqazadeh's announcement comes just four days after Tehran's revolutionary court announced four people were sentenced to death in connection with the unrest in the capital.


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