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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 18:09 GMT
Iran dissident faces prison term
Ebrahim Yazdi
Mr Yazdi says he will appeal any sentence
Leading Iranian dissident Ebrahim Yazdi has been sentenced to prison for acting against the national interest.

According to state newspaper Iran, Mr Yazdi faces a heavy sentence for spreading propaganda and helping opposition groups.

The paper did not specify the sentence length and Mr Yazdi's lawyer says he has not been informed of the ruling.

Mr Yazdi, 73, leads the banned Iran Freedom Movement, a liberal nationalist opposition group.

The newspaper says the country's hardline judiciary has convicted Mr Yazdi of acting against the national interest, spreading propaganda against the government and illegally possessing weapons.

Appeal

"I have no information on this sentence, but I will appeal any sentence with all legal means available," Mr Yazdi told the AFP news agency.

Mr Yazdi's lawyer confirmed to the BBC that he had not been told of any sentence.

Mr Yazdi has refused to attend the trial, and demanded an open court with a jury to hear his case.

Mr Yazdi was a close aide to the country's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during his final years in exile in France.

The Iran Freedom Movement led by Mr Yazdi was founded in the 1960s and is seen as close to Iran's reformists.

Mr Yazdi was foreign minister in the first government to follow the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The group was tolerated until 2001, when the state decided to ban it as it questioned certain principles of the Islamic Republic.

In that year Mr Yazdi was was accused of "attempting to overthrow the regime" and "propagating against the regime".

In March 2001, nearly 60 members and sympathisers were arrested on charges of wanting to overthrow the regime on the eve of presidential elections won by the reformist Mohammed Khatami.

Fifteen were condemned to sentences of up to 11 years in prison and are awaiting the outcome of their trial.




SEE ALSO:
Iranian dissident gets five years
20 Jul 04 |  Middle East
Analysis: What now for Iran?
23 Feb 04 |  Middle East
Iran dissident sentence revoked
01 Jun 04 |  Middle East
Iran dissident says reform at end
15 Feb 04 |  Middle East
Iran jails opposition members
27 Jul 02 |  Middle East
Country profile: Iran
13 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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