Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Iranian-American Academic Gets 12 years for Unrest

The hard line Iranian government, has continued to punish those that opposed them and their rigged election.

Iranian-American academic gets 12 years for unrest

TEHRAN, Iran – A special court formed after Iran's post-election unrest has convicted an Iranian-American academic and sentenced him to more than 12 years in prison, state media said Tuesday.

Kian Tajbakhsh was the only American in an ongoing mass trial of alleged Iranian opposition members and reportedly faced charges including espionage, contacting foreign agents and acting against Iran's national security.

Tajbakhsh was arrested July 9 during a crackdown on protesters and Iranian political figures rallying against the disputed presidential elections, which critics claimed were rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Washington has repeatedly denounced Tajbaksh's arrest. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appealed in August for Tajbakhsh's release, and he was specially named in a call by the British rock star Sting to free all political prisoners in Iran.

In 2007, Tajbakhsh, a social scientist and urban planner, spent four months in prison on charges of endangering national security. He denied the charges at the time, and has also denied the post-election allegations against him.

His lawyer, Houshang Azhari, was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as confirming Tuesday he received the verdict. The attorney said Tajbakhsh's sentence was "more than 12 years," but that the law prohibits him from divulging further details.

The report came as more than a third of Iran's parliament asked judicial authorities to prosecute opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. According to IRNA, 100 deputies in the 290-member parliament supported the demand in a letter to State Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi.

The letter, delivered by lawmaker Hamid Rasai, a staunch Ahmadinejad supporter, said Mousavi should be put on trial because his statements and actions had damaged "reputation of the Islamic system."

It's unclear whether authorities would bring charges against Mousavi, who declared himself the rightful winner in June's election. But he has vowed to press ahead with opposition to the government.

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