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Religious Scholar In Iran 'Summoned To Court'

Ahmad Qabel, Iranian religious researcher

Ahmad Qabel, Iranian religious researcher

Prominent Iranian religious scholar Ahmad Ghabel has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that he must appear before the Revolutionary Court in mid September.

Ahmad Ghabel was arrested on December 20, 2009, on his way to the funeral of prominent dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. He spent 170 days in Vakilabad prison in Mashad, northeastern Iran, before being released on bail.

Ghabel told RFE/RL on September 8 authorities told him that he is to be questioned on September 14 about his activities since his release. He explained that they meant his interviews, writings, and lectures.

"I have published reports about my trial, prison, and interrogations. I have also given a lot of interviews since my release, especially about the recent executions in Vakilabad prison in Mashad," Ghabel said.

He said that one of the main charges brought against him was giving interviews to foreign media, which he believes to be his "right and legal duty."

There is no reason why one should censor oneself or give in to censorship by the establishment, said Ghabel.

He also said that under Iran's constitution, giving interviews to foreign media is not an offence: "I asked my interrogator how come it is not a crime for the Iranian president and government officials to give interviews to Western media, yet it is a crime for Iranian citizens [to do so]."

Ahmad Ghabel was previously arrested in 2001 after writing an open letter critical of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He spent 125 days in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison.