Iran supreme court lifts death sentence against professor
Iran's Supreme Court has lifted a death sentence against a university professor who questioned the nation's clerical rule, for a second time overruling a lower court that insisted on its original blasphemy verdict.
"The death sentence has again been revoked," a top
official at the Supreme Court told The Associated Press on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Hashem Aghajari, a history professor at Tehran's Teachers
Training University, had been condemned to death for
blasphemy, insulting Islam and questioning clerical rule
during a speech in June 2002.
His initial conviction and death sentence handed down five
months later prompted nationwide student demonstrations.
The protests ended only when Iran's supreme leader,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the judiciary to reconsider
The Supreme Court overturned the death sentence in February 2003 and returned the case to the lower court for review, which reinstated the verdict May 3.
It wasn't clear when the Supreme Court overturned it again.
A supreme court official said that the case will not be
returned to the lower court, and that judiciary officials
in Tehran will now decide on it. Aghajari is currently
serving a four-year term in Evin prison in Tehran. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)