Islamic activist and history teacher Hashem Aghajari said in a letter to his family that he would remain in jail, since he could not afford to post 1 billion rials in bail set by the court.
July 25, 2004 - "By sentencing me to five years in jail and depriving me for another five years of my right to publish and teach, the court's verdict would in effect bury me alive, even though there it is not a death sentence," Islamic activist and history teach Hashem Aghajari wrote in a letter to his family, reacting to last Friday's ruling of a Tehran court in his retrial for insulting Islamic sanctities.
A court in Hamedan sentenced Aghajari, a founding member of the leftist Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), to death twice for insulting the ruling clerics in a June 2002 speech in Hamedan about Islamic Protestantism, during which he criticized the clerical rule and the Shiite principle of religious emulation.
The death sentences were both overturned by the supreme court after the Supreme Leader's intervention, following widespread student demonstrations and protests in the media by reformist politicians and human rights activist. In a retrial in Tehran, Aghajari was sentenced to five years in jail and five years ban from teaching and publishing.
Aghajari said he could not afford the 1 billion rials in bail that the court had set for his release. "I have only a 10 year old Peykan car to my name, and cannot post the bail," he told his family, adding that he will remain in jail pending his appeal.
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