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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Iranian dissident gets five years
Reformist Iranian history professor Hashem Aghajari
Aghajari became a cause celebre for protesters
Iranian dissident Hashem Aghajari has been handed a five-year jail term following his re-trial.

He was sentenced to death for blasphemy in the original trial 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.

Two years of the sentence were suspended because of time already served behind bars.

At the end of his sentence, Mr Aghajari will lose his rights to social services for a further five years.

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.

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07 Nov 02  |  Middle East
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09 Nov 02  |  Middle East
Profile: Hashem Aghajari
09 Jul 03  |  Middle East


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