Iran Court Closes another Reformist Paper

Published June 25th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Iran's clerical courts Sunday closed the daily Bayan, one of the few surviving pro-reform papers loyal to President Mohammad Khatami, the official news agency IRNA reported. 

Bayan (Expression) was closed indefinitely for breaking the laws on Islam and the press, IRNA said. 

It was run by medium-ranked cleric Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi, an adviser to the president and former interior minister, who was recently summoned by the special court for clergy, which handles offences allegedly committed by religious figures. 

He was summoned to appear in court following a complaint by the leader of Friday prayers in Hamedan, according to judicial sources in Tehran.  

He was also one of the main founders of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and Iranian ambassador to Syria in the 1980's. 

Bayan was launched at the beginning of December by the staff of the reformist daily Salam, which was closed down in July, prompting unprecedented unrest in the Islamic republic, which left three dead according to an official tally. 

In the last few months, the conservative-dominated courts have closed more than a dozen dailies and jailed a number of press chiefs for various offences relating to the content of their publications. 

This latest move comes as the new reformist-dominated parliament is working to change restrictive legislation on the press and follows protests by Khatami and 150 deputies against the massive closure of reformist papers in separate letters to the head of the country's judiciary. 

Khatami had expressed support for the papers and "sent a message with a constitutional warning" to Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, the reformist daily Hayat-e-no reported Thursday. 

The conservative daily Jomhuri Eslami said Sahrudi "did not accept" Khatami's warning - TEHRAN (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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