Iran Frees Student Leader on Bail

Published June 26th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A pro-democracy student leader, arrested nearly two months ago on charges of endangering Iran's national security, has been freed on bail, Iran News Agency (IRNA) reported on Sunday.  

Ali Afshari was released after posting the equivalent of $60,000 in bail, the agency said, citing a court statement.  

Afshari was arrested in late April on his return from a seminar in Berlin, where he was alleged to have criticized aspects of the Islamic republic's policies as undemocratic.  

He was accused by a revolutionary court of endangering Iran's national security and held without bail, reported Reuters.  

His release followed the freedom several days ago on bail of two feminist leaders, Mehrangiz Kar and Shahla Lahiji, who had also been held for criticizing the country while attending the Berlin conference on Iran's reforms.  

Three other participants at the seminar were also charged, including investigative journalist Akbar Ganji, who remains in prison, said Reuters.  

The Berlin conference was attended by many exiles opposed to Iran's Islamic system, who repeatedly disrupted the meeting. Their presence prompted conservative hardliners inside Iran to label participants as traitors to Islam and the 1979 Islamic revolution, said Reuters.  

The wave of arrests followed the closure of nearly all pro-reform publications in a major offensive against the movement for change championed by President Mohammad Khatami, IRNA said.  

The hard-line court on Sunday also ordered the closure of Bayan newspaper, one of the few remaining reformist publications.  

Bayan was run by former interior minister, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, said IRNA - (Several Sources) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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