Iran\'s Military Court Delivers Verdict in 1998 Murders Case
Tehran's military court issued its verdict Saturday on 18 intelligence agents charged with the shock 1998 murders of several dissidents and intellectuals, a court spokesman told AFP.
Reaz Zarandi said the rulings had been announced to the defendants and their lawyers but declined to give any further information.
The verdict could be made public later in the day, Zarandi said. The trial was held behind closed doors because of court concerns about national security, AFP added.
The intelligence ministry blamed the killings on a network of "rogue" agents, but denied that they had been carried out with the knowledge or authorization of top officials.
Secular nationalist leader, Dariush Foruhar, and his wife Parvaneh were found stabbed to death in their Tehran apartment in November 1998.
Within weeks, liberal writers Majid Sharif, Mohammad Mokhtari, and Mohammad-Jafar Pouyandeh were also killed.
Sharif's murder has not been part of the trial, according to official reports cited by the agency.
The intelligence agent named as the mastermind behind the killings, Said Emami, reportedly committed suicide in prison after drinking a bottle of hair remover.
Earlier this month, interior minister, Ali Yunessi, said that all the 18 defendants were intelligence agents.
Only two of the suspects pleaded not guilty before the Tehran military court, while all the others confessed to some role in the murders.
The families of the victims boycotted the trial in protest at the secrecy surrounding the controversial case.
Two pro-reform journalists, both of whom are now in jail, have alleged that more senior figures were responsible for the killings -- Albawaba.com
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