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Iranian Dissident Sentenced To Five Years In Prison

3 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A revolutionary court in Tehran has sentenced a liberal political dissident in abstentia to five years in prison on charges of trying to topple the Islamic system.

Mohammad Mohsen Sazgara was also sentenced on 2 October in absentia to five years deprivation of social rights, meaning he cannot take official posts or compete in elections.

Sazgara, who now lives in the United States, managed several newspapers in 1997-2000, until they were banned by the hard-line judiciary. Earlier this year, he helped to organize an Internet-based referendum for Iranian people to vote for their favorite political system.

His lawyer, Shirzad Heidari, said he will appeal the verdict.