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Jailed Iranian Scholar Denies Charges In Court

Ahmad Ghabel (file photo)

Ahmad Ghabel (file photo)

Jailed Iranian religious scholar Ahmad Ghabel has appeared in court where he again denied charges of acting against national security, his wife has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Ghabel was arrested in December on his way to the funeral of senior dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. He spent six months in jail before being released on bail, then was rearrested last month in Mashhad, northeastern Iran.

His wife, Marzieh Pasdar, said the October 20 hearing was held in branch five of the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad in the presence of Ghabel's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, and family members.

Pasdar said there was no representative for the prosecutor present at the session.

"Ahmad Ghabel was only questioned about his intentions behind [the charge of] acting against national security, in response to which he denied the charges completely and emphasized that he had in fact acted against those who act against the principles of Islam and law," Pasdar told RFE/RL.

Pasdar said Ghabel's actions were more in favor of national security and the government than against them.

"The judge postponed the case for another 10 days due to the absence of the representative of the prosecutor and the objection of Ghabel's lawyer regarding that matter," she said, adding that he has been asked to submit his defense in writing to the court by then.

A critic of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ghabel was also arrested in 2001 after writing an open letter critical of him. Ghabel then spent 125 days in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison.