Iran Defendant Facing Death Penalty is Freed on Bail
A former Iranian communist facing a possible death sentence for his role in a controversial political seminar in Germany has been released on bail, a court official told AFP on Thursday.
Khalil Rostam-Khani, who attended the April conference in Berlin which Iranian authorities deemed anti-Islamic, paid 87,000 dollars' bail to be released, the official said. His family confirmed the release.
Last week prosecutors asked for the death penalty against the 47-year-old, who is accused of endangering state security by disseminating pamphlets from overseas groups and by attending the conference.
He has denied the charges.
More than a dozen people are on trial in a hard-line Tehran revolutionary court in connection with the seminar, hosted by Germany's Heinrich Boell Foundation, on the future of political reform in Iran.
The event outraged Iran's conservatives after state television broadcast "anti-Islamic" footage from the seminar, showing a man disrobing in protests and a woman dancing with bare arms.
But reformists charged that the conservative-run television had shown the footage to discredit the reform movement of President Mohammed Khatami.
Several close Khatami allies are among the defendants in the case, including journalist Akbar Ganji, who used his court session last week to allege that he was being tortured in prison. Authorities denied the charge – TEHRAN (AFP)
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