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Iranian appeals court commutes prison sentences of pollsters

An appeals court in Tehran has commuted prison terms of pollsters Hossein Ali Qazian and Abbas Abdi, whose publication of a polling to say most Iranians favored normal ties with US, triggered a tumult, IRNA reported.

Bench 9 of the Tehran Appeals Court cut their prisons terms to four years and six months each for selling intelligence to foreigners and propagating against the Islamic Republic, down from nine years for Qazian and eight years for Abdi initially issued.

A court of first order had sentenced Qazian to eight years for selling information to foreigners and another year for propagating against the Islamic Republic. Abdi had got seven years and one year in the same order.

Abdi, who was a student leader in the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran, is also a journalist and a senior member of the mainstream Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF).

Press cited his daughter in March as saying that Abdi had threatened to go on hunger strike if he was transferred to solitary confinement.

Abdi was arrested last year along with Qazian. Both worked at the Ayandeh research institute.

Another suspect in the case is Behrouz Geranpayeh, the head of the National Institute for Research and Opinion Polls, who has been released on bail, pending a verdict.

Geranpayeh has been charged with "publishing false and poisonous information" as well as "selling information to foreigners".

The court has accused the defendants of carrying out the research on the order of the Washington-based Gallup Organization.

Zeidabadi jailed in Evin prison

Dissident Iranian writer and journalist Ahamd-Zeidabadi who has been sentenced to prison terms by the Special Administrative Court, was transferred to Evin prison on Sunday, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Zeidabadi appeared before Bench 1410 of the Special Administrative Court, presided over by judge Sa'id Mortazavi, last year where he had been sentenced to 23 months in prison and a five year deprivation of social rights.

Tehran's Appeal Court lessened Zeidabadi's jail term to 13 months, he said.

Since he has been in custody for seven months, he has to serve the remaining six month prison term, Zeidabadi said.

... Payvand News - 4/13/03 ... --

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