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Sunday, 10 September, 2000, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Ayatollah's brother faces court summons
By Iranian affairs reporter Sadeq Saba
Hadi Khamenei, the younger brother of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been summoned by a special religious court to answer charges of unspecified press offences.
The younger Mr Khamenei, who supports the reformist President Mohammad Khatami, is the publisher of a moderate newspaper in which the alleged offences were committed.
Mr Khamenei says he has not yet decided whether to appear before the tribunal.
The move is the latest in a series of measures against pro-reform publications, which have caused growing concern in pro-reform circles.
Details of the charges against Hadi Khamenei and his daily newspaper, Hayat-e No, are yet to emerge.
But Mr Khamenei said the Special Court for the Clergy has ordered him to appear before the tribunal on Monday to answer charges brought against him by the prosecutor.
The summons was sent to the Iranian parliament because Mr Khamenei is a member of the majority reformist faction in the chamber.
Mr Khamenei is allied with President Khatami and is opposed to his older brother, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who as supreme leader of Iran is considered closer to the conservatives.
Hadi Khamenei is a cleric himself and that's why he is summoned by the Special Court for the Clergy.
But pro-reform clerics say that the religious court is unconstitutional and has no authority to consider press offences.
In the past some clerics refused to accept the authority of this court, insisting that only an ordinary tribunal with the presence of a jury was competent to hear press offences.
But this court has been very active in recent years, ordering the closure of several newspapers and sentencing clerics to long term prisons.