Iran Human Rights8 students handed jail terms for insulting Iranian president:...

8 students handed jail terms for insulting Iranian president: union

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AFP: Eight students have been handed suspended prison terms for insulting President Mohammad Khatami and acting against Iran’s national security, a leading reformist student union member said Tuesday. “Four students from Sistan-Baluchistan (in southeast Iran) received suspended prison terms of a year each,” said Abdollah Momeni, head of the
Office of Consolidating Unity (OCU), told AFP. AFP

TEHRAN – Eight students have been handed suspended prison terms for insulting President Mohammad Khatami and acting against Iran’s national security, a leading reformist student union member said Tuesday.

“Four students from Sistan-Baluchistan (in southeast Iran) received suspended prison terms of a year each,” said Abdollah Momeni, head of the Office of Consolidating Unity (OCU), told AFP.

“Another four students from Tabriz Sahand University (northwest Iran) received a collective suspended prison term of 99 months and are barred from studying for a year,” said Momeni.

He did not give details on the charges.

“As of a month ago we have been witnessing additional pressure on universities, which creates a very heavy political climate before the presidential election” of June 17, he said.

An Iranian newspaper, meanwhile, reported that another OCU member, Saeed Habibi, had been arrested.

He was “summoned to court in Zanjan after his speech at the city’s university (on December 7) and charged with disturbing public mind, acting against national security, and agitating for regime change,” his wife, Parvaneh Vahid-Manesh, said in the reformist daily Shargh.

“I have not heard anything from him since his last trip to Zanjan” in central Iran, she added.

Iranian university students, who are at the forefront of political protests, played a key role in Khatami’s election victories in 1997 and 2001, and also when reformists won parliamentary polls in 2000.

But they have become disillusioned and embittered by a lack of reforms in the Islamic republic amid stiff resistance from the conservative camp.

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