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Iran: Lawyer says Aghajari cannot afford to pay the bail

Tehran, July 24, IRNA -- The history lecturer, Hashem Aghajari, once accused of blasphemy, could not afford to pay one billion rls in bail and still remained in temporary custody, his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht said in Tehran on Saturday.

photo: ISNA

The new spate of Aghajari's hearing was currently under way at the Branch 1083 of Tehran's Public Court in the presence of his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht.

Aghajari was initially sentenced to death last year by a local court in the western province of Hamedan after being tried on charges of blasphemy incited by a speech he had delivered in Hamedan in June 2002.

After being repeatedly passed from the initial court to the Supreme Court and vice versa, Aghajari's case was finally forwarded to the Branch 1083 of Tehran's Public Court for final examination.

In his lecture to students in Hamedan, Aghajari criticized the principle of 'emulation` and said that the religious leaders should give explanation to their followers when they expect them to do something.

A local judge in Hamedan sentenced Aghajari to death and said that his remarks were blasphemous and a challenge the principle of emulation.

Immediately after the death sentence was announced by the Hamedan court, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution called on Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi to re-examine the case "to save innocent life".

Aghajari, a war veteran and brother to a martyr, has proved his commitment to Islam and his national obligation to defend the country and the Islamic Republic by sacrificing his leg in the war fronts in 1980-1988.

The Supreme Court rejected the blasphemy charge against Aghajari and turned back the case to the public court for re-examination.

The Supreme Court also rejected the prison term, the judge in Hamedan had given to Aghajari in addition to death sentence.

Head of Branch 1083 court had agreed Aghajari to be released on bail last Thursday, his lawyer told reporters on Tuesday.

A number of academics nationwide have voiced readiness to provide the bail, said his lawyer.

... Payvand News - 7/25/04 ... --

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