Iran Courts to Make ‘Anti-Islamic’ Political Trial Public

Published November 1st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Iran's judiciary has decided to make public the trial of several leading reformists who attended a controversial "anti-Islamic" political conference, press reports said Wednesday. 

The decision to open the doors of the trial, which includes several close allies of President Mohammed Khatami, came following "multiple demands," newspapers reported. No further details were given. 

Tehran's revolutionary court has held two sessions of the trial at which four defendants heard a battery of serious charges against them, including acting against national security, which could carry long jail terms. 

All of those in Iran who attended the April conference in Berlin on the future of Iranian reform are believed to be facing charges. 

The April 7-8 seminar was deemed "anti-Islamic" and infuriated conservatives after state television broadcast excerpts showing a woman dancing with bare arms and a man disrobing -- taboo under Iranian law. 

Lawyer Mehrangiz Kar and publishing director Shahla Lahiji -- both known for their vocal support for women's rights -- as well as student leader Ali Afshari and newspaper chief Shahla Sherkat were before the court in the initial sessions, according to reports. 

Ailing dissident cleric Hassan Yusefi-Eshkevari and outspoken pro-reform journalist Akbar Ganji are also among those to be tried. 

Eshkevari is already facing a possible death sentence in another related trial by the Special Court for Clergy, while Ganji is also facing separate charges in Tehran's press court. 

Ganji had been scheduled to be freed on bail Sunday his lawyer said, but was held after the press court did not agree to his release. 

Ezzatollah Sahabi of the pro-reform Iran Freedom Movement, writer Mahmud Dolatabadi and journalist Hamid-Reza Jalai-Pour are also among those to be tried – TEHRAN (AFP) 



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