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Journalist Baqi freed after 33 months of imprisonment: press

Tehran, Feb 7, IRNA -- Emadoddin Baqi, a university professor and prominent journalist in jail since May 2000 on multiple charges including harming national security, was released from Evin prison north of this capital Iranian city on Thursday, the Persian daily Iran said Friday.

He had been sentenced to five and half years for questioning Iran's use of capital punishment and inciting public opinion through propagating false news, but an appeal court later commuted his jail term to three years.

The paper cited Baqi as saying that the court had freed him after posting surety. Asked about his future plans, the journalist said, "I am intending to return to the university and teach."

"Working in the press is not possible for me under the present situation since the existing press standards are so that it has become hard to work," Iran quoted him saying further.

Several members of the journalist's family as well as his friends, including Mohsen Kadivar -- once himself a prisoner for challenging the authority of the supreme leader -- greeted Baqi as he emerged from the Evin prison, the paper said.

According to Iran, maverick journalist and a cellmate, Akbar Ganji, saw Baqi off at the prison gate. Ganji, 45, is serving a six-year jail term since January 2001 on a battery of charges, including for linking some of the country's top officials to a string of murders of Iranian intellectuals, which were blamed on rogue intelligence agents.

The daily Iran said Baqi also bid farewell to Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, a former cleric who was defrocked and sentenced to seven years in jail in April 2000 for insulting Islamic sanctities, and student leader Ali Afshari.

Baqi, an author, who holds a master degree in sociology, as well as a graduate of Iranian seminary schools, contributed articles to several Iranian publications which were mostly closed down.

He once was the editor of the now banned Fath daily which was shuttered down the same year he went to jail.

... Payvand News - 2/7/03 ... --

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