Iranian university professor sentenced to four years in prison
An Iranian university professor whose death sentence was repealed after nationwide protests will serve just under four years in jail, his lawyer said Sunday, according to AP.
Hashem Aghajari, a history professor at Tehran's Teachers Training University, is also barred from running for office or occupying a government post for five years, lawyer Saleh Nikbakht conveyed.
Aghajari was convicted of insulting Islam and questioning clerical rule during a speech in western Iran last June. Last November, he was condemned to death, banned from teaching for 10 years, exiled for eight years to three remote cities and sentenced to receive 74 lashes.
Aghajari's sentencing last November provoked the biggest student protests in Iran in three years. He initially said he would not appeal the death sentence, challenging the judiciary to carry it out. But his lawyer filed an appeal over his objections.
Iran's Supreme Court lifted the death sentence in February, saying the charges were inconsistent with Aghajari's speech, and returned the case to a lower court for review.
Aghajari was charged with apostasy after a philosophical speech in which he rejected demands to "blindly follow" clerical rule. This speech prompted an outcry from some clerics in the religious establishment, who claimed that the speech was an attack on the Prophet of Islam and on fundamental Shiite Islamic doctrines. Aghajari himself has repeatedly denied criticizing the Prophet in any way, and apologized for any inadvertent offense his remarks may have caused. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)