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Iranian Court Starts Open Trial of Suspended Papers

TEHRAN (June 28) XINHUA - Iran on Wednesday started the first open trial of the papers and journals suspended in recent months for disparaging Islam and religious elements of the Islamic revolution.

The first trial started at Branch 1410 of Tehran's Public Court, scheduled to hear the case against Mostafa Izadi, managing director of the suspended weekly "Ava" (Voice), the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Izadi's plaintiffs include the Intelligence Ministry, Prosecutor-General Ayatollah Morteza Moghtadai and other officials affiliated to the Basij (volunteer forces).

"Ava" is among the 19 papers and periodicals, most of them pro- reform, that were shut down in the past few months by the conservative judiciary.

The measure was considered as part of the efforts by the conservative establishment to crack down on the growing reformist campaign fostered by President Mohammad Khatami since he took office in 1997.

Khatami's allies won an overwhelming victory in February's parliamentary election, ending the long-time conservative-dominance in the legislative body.

But the conservatives, still controlling most of the powerful state organs including the military, have stepped up their efforts to strengthen their rule and weaken the reformist movement.


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