Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Leading Iranian reformist Hossein Marashi jailed

Hossein Marashi. File photo
Hossein Marashi was reportedly taken to Tehran's Evin prison

A leading Iranian reformist has been jailed after an appeals court upheld his one-year prison term.

Former Vice-President Hossein Marashi, 51, had been sentenced for spreading propaganda against the authorities after last year's disputed elections.

He had backed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in his election campaign against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - the eventual poll winner.

Mr Mousavi, meanwhile, said the fight for reforms must continue.

In a statement to mark the Persian new year, he said a "retreat would be treason to Islam, the nation and to the blood of the martyrs".

Opposition supporters staged large street protests following the June election, saying the poll was rigged to ensure Mr Ahmadinejad's election. The government denies the charge.

At least 30 protesters have been killed in clashes since the poll, although the opposition says more than 70 have died. Thousands have been detained and some 200 activists remain behind bars.

Political ban

Hossein Marashi was taken into custody on Thursday, his close relative and an opposition website said.

At the centre of his case was last year's interview, where he encouraged people to gather outside Tehran's Evin prison to protest against the detention of political activists, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The appeals court also upheld a ban on political activity for Mr Marashi. It was not immediately clear how long the ban would last.

He was a member of the government of former pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami.

Mr Marashi is also reportedly a close ally of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, another former president, who currently leads the influential Assembly of Experts.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Iran Jails Former Vice President for Spreading 'Propaganda' - 32 hrs ago Mousavi vows 'year of perseverance' against Iran regime - 35 hrs ago
Times Online Iran couple demand 'year of resistance' - 47 hrs ago
Time Iran Jails Former Vice President Marashi - 51 hrs ago
MSNBC Iran jails former vice president, reform activist - 52 hrs ago

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