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Iran: Lawyer Appeals Professor's Death Sentence

Tehran, 2 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The lawyer for Iranian university professor Hashen Aghajari, who was sentenced to death for insulting Islam, appealed the verdict today. Aghajari was condemned to hang last month after he questioned clerical rule, saying believers should not blindly follow senior clerics.

The sentence sparked two weeks of pro-reform protests by students, the biggest demonstrations in three years, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered a review of the verdict. But Iran's state prosecutor warned last week that Aghajari's sentence would become final tomorrow if no appeal was filed.

The Tehran history lecturer refused to appeal the sentence himself, challenging the authority of the court. But his lawyer said last week he would appeal independently of his client.