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December 26

Relatives of jailed writers to rally outside courts

TEHRAN, Dec 26 (AFP) - Relatives of jailed pro-reform journalists will stage a rally next week to protest their "illegal" detention, the state IRNA news agency said Tuesday. It cited a statement announcing the demonstration outside a Tehran court Monday against the "long and illegal" detentions as well as the "ugly and inappropriate behaviour" of judges toward relatives of the detained >>> FULL TEXT

December 25

Closed door trial over killing of dissidents enters second day

TEHRAN, Dec 25 (AFP) -The trial of 17 secret service agents accused of killing leading dissidents resumed Monday behind closed doors. "The second court session has opened in front of the fifth chamber of the Military court with Judge Reza Aghihi," Mohammad-Reza Zarandi, director of the the military courts' public relations, told AFP >>> FULL TEXT

Sahabi's wife protests his transfer to solitary cell

TEHRAN, Dec 25 (AFP) - The wife of Iran's longtime secular political opposition leader Ezatollah Sahabi spoke out Monday against the government's jailing of her husband, criticising his transfer to solitary confinement. In an open letter to President Mohammad Khatami, Zarindokht Attai said her 75-year-old husband and Ali Afshari, a key figure in the student reformist movement, had been transferred Sunday to single cells at Evin prison in Tehran >>> FULL TEXT

December 21

Iran readies for trial in political killings that shocked nation

TEHRAN, Dec 21 (AFP) - Iran on Saturday will open the much-anticipated trial of 18 men accused of carrying out the brutal 1998 serial killings of several leading dissidents and intellectuals that shocked the nation. The assassinations, blamed on a network of "rogue" agents within the secret police, and the controversy that has dogged the case have underscored the still explosive political tension in the country >>> FULL TEXT

December 20

Families of murder victims decide not to attend trial

TEHRAN, Dec 20 (AFP) - Relatives of several slain dissidents and intellectuals have dismissed their legal team in the latest twist to the controversial case, the official IRNA news agency said Wednesday. The dismissal comes just three days before the long-awaited trial of the alleged murderers is due to open in a Tehran military court on Saturday in a case that has galvanized public attention for more than two years >>> FULL TEXT

Germany condemns Iranian charges of Berlin conference participants

December 20, Berlin (dpa) - Germany on Wednesday condemned charges made against 17 Iranian nationals who attended an Iran conference in Berlin earlier this year sponsored by the Greens Party. ``The German government views the charges ... as wrong,'' said an official reply by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government published by parliament >>> FULL TEXT

December 18

Two dissidents arrested

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Two leading Iranian dissidents were arrested Sunday on charges of insulting Iran's supreme leader. Ezatollah Sahabi, a member of the dissident Freedom Movement that opposes Iran's clerical rule, was interrogated and arrested on the orders of the hard-line Tehran Revolutionary Court, said Reza Alijani, an editor of the now banned Iran-e-Farda magazine >>> FULL TEXT

December 16

Pro-reform journalist freed on bail

TEHRAN, Dec 16 (AFP) - Veteran pro-reform Iranian journalist Massud Behnud, facing a battery of serious charges including harming national security, was freed on bail Saturday, his lawyer said. Behnud was released after putting up his house as collateral, lawyer Amir Hossein Abadi told the state IRNA news agency >>> FULL TEXT

December 14

Lawyer for families of assassination victims freed on bail: press

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - A lawyer for the families of two Iranian dissidents assassinated in 1998 was released on bail three days after his arrest, a newspaper said Thursday. Nasser Zarafshan, who was arrested Sunday just days before the trial of the alleged killers begins in a Tehran military court, was freed Wednesday on 27,000 dollars bail, the Khorassan paper said >>> FULL TEXT

December 13

High-profile reformist journalist denies all charges

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - High-profile Iranian journalist Massud Behnud denied Wednesday a battery of serious charges levelled at him in Tehran's press court, including offending public morals and acting against national security. The 52-year-old Behnud, in jail since August, wrote for several of the pro-reform newspapers closed by the conservative courts since a press crackdown was launched in April >>> FULL TEXT

December 12

Journalists' guild lashes out against judiciary for press crackdown

TEHRAN, Dec 12 (AFP) - Iran's pro-reform journalists' guild has vehemently denounced the arrest of journalists and the conservative-led judiciary's crackdown on the country's press since April. In an open letter Sunday to judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahroudi, a copy of which was received by AFP, the guild criticised the way in which journalists and writers were being treated, saying the judiciary's arguments for the mass suspensions and the arrest of journalists lacked foundation >>> FULL TEXT

December 11

Lawyer in chain murders case arrested after speech

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A lawyer for the families of two dissidents killed in 1998 was arrested after he gave a speech about the slayings, a fellow attorney said Monday. Naser Zarafshan, who represents the families of slain pro-reform writers Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh and Mohammad Mokhtari, was detained Sunday on orders from a military court, said the lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity >>> FULL TEXT

Hamshahri banned outside Tehran

TEHRAN, Dec 11 (AFP) - Iranian press court Monday banned top-selling Iranian daily Hamshahri, published by the municipality of Tehran, from being distributed outside the capital, official IRNA news agency said. Founded in 1992 by former-mayor Gholamhossain Karbastshi, Hamshahri has a 460,000 circulation and is read throughout the country >>> FULL TEXT

December 10

Montazeri's son arrested

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A son of Iran's most prominent dissident cleric has been arrested for distributing his father's memoirs, his brother said Sunday. Saeed Montazeri made 100 photocopies of the 1,600-page book, which describes the political life of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, according to Saeed's brother, Ahmad Montazeri >>> FULL TEXT

December 9

Press court suspends another reform newspaper

TEHRAN, Dec 9 (AFP) - An Iranian press court suspended publication for three months of Ahrar, a reform newpaper in the northern city of Tabriz, the official news agency IRNA reported Saturday. The court found the newspaper's director, Mohammed Hossein Kuzeh-Gar, guilty of printing false information, IRNA said >>> FULL TEXT

December 6

Cartoonist regrets "extremism"

Tehran (Hambastegi) -- "We went too fast," says cartoonist Nikahang Kosar, whose cartoons critical of the conservatives have caused him legal troubles >>> FULL PERSIAN TEXT

December 5

Tehran rejects UN human rights resolution

TEHRAN, Dec 5 (AFP) - Iran energetically rejected Tuesday a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly a day earlier expressing "deep concerns" about press freedom in Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported. "This resolution, voted by a small majority of the UN General Assembly, is too categorical and does not correspond to the reality of Iranian society", IRNA quoted foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi >>> FULL TEXT

December 4

U.N. General Assembly raps Iran on rights abuses

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Rebuking Iran on a series of human rights abuses, the U.N. General Assembly narrowly adopted a resolution on Monday calling on Tehran to end torture, particularly amputations. The vote was 67 in favor, 54 against with 46 abstentions on the resolution that chastised Iran for executions, a crackdown on freedom of speech and press, and discrimination against religious minorities, such as the Bahais. Last year the Assembly voted 61-47-51 on a similar measure >>> FULL TEXT

Top Iran judge to challenge murder accusations by Akbar Ganji

TEHRAN, Dec 4 (AFP) - The head of a powerful Tehran clerical court said Monday he would defend himself against recent allegations by a top journalist implicating him in the 1998 killing of a communist militant in Iran. Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of the conservative-run Special Court for Clergy (SCC) said he would "soon" respond to the accusation made by jailed journalist Akbar Ganji in late November >>> FULL TEXT

Kin of slain writers freed

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian authorities have released eight relatives and friends of slain dissident writers after detaining them for four days, a relative said Monday. The eight - among hundreds of people who attended a ceremony Thursday marking the second anniversary of the death of dissident writer Majid Sharif - were released Sunday, political activist Habibollah Peyman told The Associated Press >>> FULL TEXT

December 3

Judge, defense attorney clash over evidence in dissident's trial

TEHRAN, Dec 3 (AFP) - The judge and a defense attorney in the trial of 18 reformists for endangering state security by attending a conference in Berlin clashed Saturday over whether a document found at one defendant's home was classified. The "confidential document was destined for the Ministry of Information and for Justice and should not have been found" at the home of journalist and defendant, Akbar Ganji, said Hassan Ahmadi-Moqadessi, the revolutionary court's chief judge >>> FULL TEXT

Berlin seminar aimed at overthrowing regime, court told

TEHRAN, Dec 3 (AFP) - Reformists on trial for attending a controversial conference in Berlin faced the prospect of heavier punishment Sunday after the prosecution claimed the aim of the seminar was to overthrow Iran's Islamic regime. Revolutionary court prosecutor Abdollah Sharifi revealed the accusation for the first time when he read the charge sheet for one of the interpreters at the April conference, Khalil Rostam-Khani >>> FULL TEXT

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