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Lawyer calls for transfer of Iranian pollster from solitary confinement

The lawyer of former student leader Abbas Abdi who is held in connection with a polling which alleged most Iranians backed normalization of ties with Washington, has called for the transfer of his client from solitary confinement, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Saleh Nikbakht has written a letter to Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, complaining that Abdi was still being held in solitary confinement outside Evin prison although the court has already convicted him.

In April, an appeals court here commuted Abdi's prison term to four years and six months for selling intelligence to foreigners and propagating against the Islamic Republic, down from eight years as initially issued.

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

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).

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

Nikbakht said Abdi's family was worried about his condition and called on the prosecutor to immediately arrange a meeting.

The journalist, he added, had not seen his relatives as well as his lawyer for more than a month.

The appeals court also commuted Qazian's prison term to four years and six months down from nine years on the same charges.

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.

... Payvand News - 8/3/03 ... --

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