Iran Opposition Leader Arrested for Participating at 'Anti-Islamic' Seminar

Published June 26th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A leading figure in Iran's progressive opposition, Ezzatollah Sahabi, was arrested and jailed in Tehran Monday for taking part in an "anti-Islamic" political seminar in Berlin in April, the IRNA news agency reported. 

"As part of the inquiry into those taking part in the Berlin seminar, and given that confidential documents were discovered during recent investigations, Sahabi was summoned by the revolutionary court which placed him in provisional custody," a court statement quoted by IRNA said. 

His home was searched June 14 on an order from the revolutionary court, although he was free on bail. 

Sahabi headed the planning and budget organization of the former provisional government in 1979. He is known for his secular and progressive thinking expressed in his monthly Iran-e-farda (Iran Tomorrow) publication, which was closed down in April.  

He is the son of Yadollah Sahabi, a former associate and minister of Mohammad Mossadeq, who was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup in 1953. 

The arrest comes a day after a pro-reform Iranian student leader, Ali Afshari, imprisoned for nearly two months for attending the conference, was set free on 62,000 dollars bail. 

A few days earlier, two other participants at the Berlin conference, lawyer Mehranghiz Kar and publishing house director Shahla Lahiji, were set free on 60,000 dollars bail each. The two women, who had been in Evin Prison since April 29, also face trial at an unannounced date. 

They are known for their efforts on women's rights in Iran and are frequently the target of conservatives. 

The Berlin seminar, held on April 7th and 8th by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, was called "Iran After the Elections" and included some of President Mohammed Khatami's allies. 

Iran's conservative courts deemed it "anti-Islamic," after some speakers attacked Iran's Islamic government, a woman danced with bare arms and a man disrobed - TEHRAN (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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