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Amir-Entezam to be put on trial, finally

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - A minister in Iran's first post-revolutionary government is to go on trial here Tuesday charged with slander, his wife told AFP.

Abbas Amir-Entezam, regarded as a liberal, was detained last September after making critical statements about the former head of the Evin prison near Tehran, Assadollah Ladjevardi, who was assassinated in August.

The Swiss-based International Commission of Jurists issued a statement protesting at the refusal of the Iranian authorities to issue visa to a Swiss lawyer who wanted to observe the trial.

"We are asking for justice, that is all we want," said Elaheh Amir-Entezam, the accused's wife.

Amir-Entezam has already served a 17 year sentence for spying, a charge he always denied, and is considered the country's longest-serving political prisoner. He had enjoyed only a brief spell of freedom before his re-arrest.

A number of human rights organisations have expressed their support for him, and last year he was awarded the Austrian Bruno Kreisky prize for human rights.

Amir-Entezam was a deputy prime minister and government spokesman in the provisional government headed by Mehdi Bazargan after the overthrow of the Shah in February 1979.


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