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Tehran prosecutor orders release of nine jailed students

Tehran prosecutor's office has ordered nine students, detained in connection with June and July unrest in the capital and several other Iranian cities, to be released, it said in a statement Wednesday, IRNA reported.

In the initial phase, the public prosecutor has issued the order for the release of nine students, which has been approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the statement, a copy of which was faxed to IRNA.

It identified those to be released as Mehdi Shirzad, Abdollah Mo'meni, Peyman Aref, Reza Ameri-Nasab, Meysam Rashidi, Morteza Safaie-Naeeni, Massoud Karimi, Ali-Akbar Akrami-Eraqi and Amir-Hossein E'temadi-Bozorg.

The order came a day after the supreme leader called on judiciary officials to show leniency to the jailed students.

For the release, the prosecutor's office said, it had taken into account the orders of the supreme leader who had agreed with "the freedom of those detained students who have disavowed connection with trouble-makers and rioters and declared their loyalty" to the Islamic Republic.

The students are arrested in several days of rioting following a peaceful gathering of students to protest the perceived privatization of state universities, which officials rejected.

Media had quoted the state prosecutor general, Abdon-Nabi Namazi, as saying that police had detained 4,000 people across the country in connection with the unrest.

Members of a select committee, formed on the order of Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, was to meet Sunday with another group of jailed students, and MP said.

"Thus far, we have met 70 students and less than 16 other students have been arrested since our last visit, whom we will meet today," a member of the committee, Mohsen Safaie Farahani, who represents Tehran in the Parliament, said.

Farahani said 30 students were being held in Evin prison, including 18 people whose cases have been sent to the court for investigation. The rest were waiting for investigations to become complete.

"What is important for us at this time, is the imprisonment of students and their release," he said.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Washington was behind the riots and denounced it for 'blatant interference in the country's internal affairs' through provoking the unrest.

Officials said among those detained are agents who worked for 'foreign countries' and passed information to foreign televisions as well as several sympathizers of terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization.

Press, citing officials, also implicated some of nationalist-religious activists -- advocates of liberal Freedom Movement of Iran -- which is outlawed, in the unrest.

Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said that very few students were among those arrested.

... Payvand News - 8/7/03 ... --

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