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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Iran court cuts reformist's sentence
Akbar Ganji
Ganji (right) was originally given a 10-year prison sentence
A Tehran court has cut the 10-year prison sentence for one of the country's leading campaigning journalists, Akbar Ganji, to six months.

The appeal court also overturned the further five years of internal exile that Ganji had been ordered to serve after his decade in prison.

Ganji was convicted in January along with six other defendants for undermining national security and making propaganda against the Islamic regime.

Prison sentences ranging from four to 10 years were handed down to the reformist intellectuals, who attended a controversial conference on the country's future in Berlin last year.

Naming names

Exiled opposition activists disrupted the conference - an act seen by hardliners in Tehran as a direct challenge to the Islamic constitution.

Ganji's lawyer Gholam-Ali Riyahi was quoted by the official Irna news agency on Tuesday as saying Ganji would be freed "soon".

The pro-reform journalist rocked the establishment last year after naming a former intelligence minister as the key figure behind a series of murders of dissident intellectuals which shook Iran in recent years.

Correspondents say the serial murders of dissident writers and intellectuals, culminating two years ago, are still one of the hottest political issues in Iran.

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Conference that created a furore
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23 Oct 00 | Middle East
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13 Aug 00 | Middle East
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20 Apr 00 | Middle East
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