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Iranian pollster Hossein Qazian attends court before returning to jail

A key convict, held in connection with a controversial polling which alleged most Iranians favored normal ties with the US, appeared at a court here before returning to jail, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Hossein Qazian, who worked before for the Ayandeh research institute, had been temporarily released from Evin prison, north of here, on a bail of 1.5 billion rials.

He did not say why he had attended the court, but announced that he would return to prison Wednesday to serve his 4.5-year term.

An appeals court here last month commuted prison terms of Qazian and Abbas Abdi 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).

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.

... Payvand News - 5/6/03 ... --

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