Tehran, Feb 6, IRNA -- Dissident cleric Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari was
released Sunday after serving about two-thirds of his seven-year jail
term for a series of charges, one of his relatives told IRNA.
He had been jailed for spreading lies, insulting Islamic
sanctities as well as participating at a controversial conference in
Berlin, denounced here as aiming to topple the Islamic Republic.
An appeals court in Tehran once quashed his death sentence,
handed down by the Special Court for the Clergy, on apostasy charges.
The mid-ranking cleric was arrested on August 5, 2000 upon his
return from the Berlin conference on 'changes in Iran', sponsored by
the Heinrich Boell Foundation, which is linked to Germany's Greens
At another point, Eshkevari's health deteriorated at prison and
doctors said chronic diabetes and mental breakdown were to blame.
The political conference in Berlin was attended by 15 reformist
activists and two translators. They were all summoned to the
revolutionary court and faced trials, with the exception of Eshkevari,
whose case was referred to the special clergy court as he is a cleric.
Among them were investigative journalist Akbar Ganji, who is still
in prison, and student leader Ali Afshari who was released from jail
after writing a repentance letter.
The Berlin meeting was frequently interrupted by banned Iranian
opposition groups. Television pictures showed one man taking his
clothes off and a woman dancing.
The meeting was branded as a threat to the national security and
the participants were upbraided for having 'disgraced' the country in
front of 'counter-revolutionaries'.
Six defendants who attended the conference were acquitted.
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