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Dissident student leader freed after two days in jail


October 9, 2000, TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A dissident student leader was freed on bail Sunday after two days in police custody apparently for launching a political party seeking wide-ranging democratic reforms, his wife said Sunday. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi was arrested Friday by plainclothes police immediately after the first meeting of the newly founded Iranian People's Democratic Front, Mahbobeh Alinaqian told The Associated Press.

"As he was returning from the first meeting of the group, men in plain clothes arrested my husband without giving any reason. He was freed on bail Sunday evening. The authorities also gave no reason for his release," she said. Their son, Mohammed, 17, was beaten by police when he tried to prevent them from taking his father, Alinaqian said.

She said her husband had set up the new group in order to expand his political activities. The front seeks faster and more far-reaching democratic reforms than those initiated by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

The Islamic Students Association, which was previously headed by Tabarzadi, issued a statement Saturday condemning his arrest and warning that its supporters would take to the streets in protest if he was not released by late Sunday.

This is the fourth time that Tabarzadi, 40, and a father of six, has been imprisoned in the past three years. He was last jailed in June for a gathering at Tehran University where he led the crowd in chanting antigovernment slogans.

Tabarzadi said after his release in September that he would keep fighting for political freedoms even if it meant being jailed for life.

Meanwhile, newspapers reported Saturday that 150 people had been arrested by police in connection with unrest in western Iran in August. One policeman was killed during several days of riots in the city of Khorramabad, 485 kilometers (300 miles) southwest of Tehran last summer.


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