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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 18:33 GMT
Iran lifts ban on reformist paper
Latif Safari
Neshat publisher Latif Safari plans to get the paper back on its feet
Iran's supreme court has overturned a 1999 ban on a reformist newspaper.

The Neshat newspaper was banned after criticising Iran's penal system, which has its roots in Islamic Sharia law.

Many of its staff were arrested in a crackdown on the liberal press, including publisher Latif Safari who was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Neshat's editor, Mashallah Shamolvaezin, who was also jailed, told the BBC the verdict was testament to the fairness of Iran's supreme court.

Analysts say the move may be intended to display a greater tolerance of dissent before presidential elections in June.

Mr Safari said he hoped Neshat would resume publication soon and invited its former employees to return to their jobs, according to Iranian student news agency Isna.

The media freedom group, Reporters Without Borders, says Iran's record for jailing journalists is among the worst in the world.

Separately, an appeals court in Iran has said dissident academic Hashem Aghajari is free to resume teaching, having spent the last few months on bail.

A court had sentenced Mr Aghajari to death in 2002 after he claimed Muslims were not "monkeys" who should blindly follow their religious leaders.

Massive student protests followed the ruling and last year an appeal court revoked the death sentence in favour of a jail term, before freeing Mr Aghajari on bail.




SEE ALSO:
Iran's liberal press muzzled
24 Apr 00 |  Middle East
Iranian dissident freed on bail
31 Jul 04 |  Middle East
Iran dissident faces death again
03 May 04 |  Middle East
Iran arrests another journalist
23 Apr 00 |  Middle East
Iranian reformist editor arrested
02 Nov 99 |  Middle East



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