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Political party "amazed" by new ban on Norouz paper in Iran

Tehran, Jan 20, IRNA -- A watershed political party on Monday condemned a court decision to maintain ban on the Persian daily Norouz as it prepared to resume publication after remaining closed for six months.

"This is a weird and unprecedented ruling in the world history of justice," the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) said in a statement, describing the decision "illegal" and "political".

Judge Saeed Mortazavi on Sunday announced that Norouz (New Day) had to remain closed because of new charges brought against it by several institutions, including police and volunteer Basij forces.

An Iranian appeals court upheld in July last year a six-month ban on Norouz as well as a six-month jail term against its editor, Mohsen Mirdamadi, who represents Tehran in the parliament.

A Tehran court had earlier brought a battery of charges against the paper, including publishing lies to incite public opinion and propagating against the Islamic Republic's officials. It had further banned Mirdamadi from having any press activity for four years.

Norouz was supposed to re-start publication under the name of Rouz-e No, which also means New Day. Mohammad-Reza Khatami, who is President Mohammad Khatami's younger brother and a vice-speaker of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), was expected to have taken over as the paper's editor.

"Regardless of all factors which led (the court) to issue this ruling, we must bluntly express our regret over the governing attitude in a part of the Judiciary," the IIPF said in part of the statement.

"They (respective judiciary officials) have virtually announced that the Islamic Republic cannot tolerate the publication of a newspaper by the children of the (Islamic) Revolution, who serve at the most important posts of the system," it added.

"This front (IIPF), despite all unkind and illegal confrontations, hereby feels obliged to cover the uneven road of reforms with calm and live up to its pledges to the people," another part of the statement said.

The ban follows the court's suspension of two other dailies Bahar (Spring) and Hayat-e No (New Life) earlier this month.

Bahar was banned first in August 2000 after the press court said that the paper had failed to take account of previous complaints lodged and had also published 'fabricated stories and blatant lies'.

Hayat-e No was banned after it published a cartoon, supposedly insulting to the founder of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini.

Persian daily `Norouz' to remain suspended

Tehran, Jan 20, IRNA -- The Persian daily `Norouz' which was due to resume publication in the next few weeks was again barred from publication by another court suspension order issued Sunday.

The daily was to have a new management under Mohammad Reza Khatami as managing editor and a new name, `Rouz-e Nou'.

Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court on July 24 upheld the verdict of the lower court ordering the suspension of the daily.

The daily was ordered suspended for six months and its managing editor, Mohsen Mirdamadi, from engaging in press activities for four years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of rls 2,000,000.

Mirdamadi stood trial for a battery of charges including libel, subversion, violation of election laws, spreading lies, and insulting government officials.

Judge Saeed Mortazavi, head of Branch 1410 of the Tehran Public Court, in a letter to the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, on Sunday announced the second temporary suspension of the daily `Norouz'.

Mohsen Mirdamadi refused to attend the court hearing to investigate the new complaints raised against him, and the legal deadline to present a reply has expired, the letter said.

According to the letter, the public prosecutor, State Inspectorate Organization, Police Intelligence Office and the Basij militia are the new complainants against the daily.

Mirdamadi did not attend the court session as he has ceded the post of managing editor of the daily to Mohammad Reza Khatami who was managing editor of the Persian daily Mosharekat, which has also been suspended from publication for alleged specific offenses, Judge Mortazavi's letter stated.

... Payvand News - 1/20/03 ... --

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