News & Views
Iranian journalist released from prison: paper
TEHRAN, March 7 (AFP) - A left-leaning Iranian journalist arrested three months ago for allegedly criticizing the government has been released, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Akbar Ganji, director of literary monthly Rah-e-No (New Way), left the prison on Thursday after three months in temporary detention, Jamee newspaper said.
A revolutionary court this week sentenced Ganji to one year in jail on charges of "disturbing and trying to harm the public opinion," but suspended nine months of the sentence and put him on probation for five years.
He was apparently released because he had already served three months.
He was picked up on December 6 with no explanation from the authorities although his arrest was reportedly prompted by a speech he made at a university in the southern city of Shiraz.
His trial was held in secret and sentencing was based on the Islamic law of Sharia, which was adopted three years ago.
The paper said Ganji had refused to defend himself in protest at the "political nature" of the trial.
He said that under the constitution he had a right to a public trial in the presence of a jury.
Jamee also said the journalist had been allowed to leave prison last week, but that he refused to do so until Thursday after friends intervened.