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    IRAN: WITCH HUNTING?

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    TEHRAN, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - The regional branch of the Revolutionary Court of the northern Iranian province of Gilan sentenced Arash Sigarchi, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Gilan-e Emruz (Gilan Today), to 14 years of imprisonment.

    As the lawyer of the convict, Mohammad Seifzade, reported, "the court charged Sigarchi with espionage for the countries inimical to Iran, including the USA and the terrorist Organization of Mojaheddins of the Iranian People (Mojaheddin-e Halq-e Iran) and also with insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic immam Khomeini; religious leader and the head of the state Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Iranian President Mohammad Khatami; and Chairman Expediency Council Ali Akbar Khashemi-Rafsanjani."

    Lawyer Mohammad Seifzade said that "the court hearing was closed for public and without jurors, though Article 168 of the country's Constitution provides for holding open sessions."

    According to the lawyer, "the defense intends to appeal against this court's decision in the higher courts of the country and to seek the revision of the Sigarchi case.

    Earlier, the Iranian journalist published articles, criticizing the Iranian leadership and about death sentences to opposition politicians.

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