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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Iran dissident sentence revoked
Reformist Iranian history professor Hashem Aghajari
Aghajari became a cause celebre for protesters
Iran's Supreme Court has again quashed a death sentence against dissident academic Hashem Aghajari.

He was sentenced to death for apostasy in 2002 after denouncing Iran's mullahs and calling for "religious renewal".

The sentence sparked the largest student protest for years, and it was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

The sentence was sent back twice to the regional court that first imposed it, but the court simply restated its original verdict both times.

Mr Aghajari, a history professor at a Tehran college, made a speech in August 2002, which was a seen as an attack on the country's Islamic establishment and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Khamenei.

He said that Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly follow" the clerics.

As well as the death sentence for apostasy and insulting the early imams, he received further sentences of a 10-year ban on teaching, eight years in jail and 74 lashes for lesser offences.

After student protests, Ayatollah Khamenei was forced to step in and order a review of his verdict.

Hashem Aghajari is a war veteran who lost a leg in the 1980-88 war with Iraq. He belongs to a left-wing reformist political group, the Islamic Revolutionary Mujahidin Organisation.




SEE ALSO:
Profile: Hashem Aghajari
09 Jul 03  |  Middle East
Iran dissident says reform at end
15 Feb 04  |  Middle East
Iranian academic sentenced to death
07 Nov 02  |  Middle East
Iran death sentence angers reformists
09 Nov 02  |  Middle East
Iranian students clash with hardliners
18 Nov 02  |  Middle East
Iran to review academic's verdict
25 Nov 02  |  Middle East


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