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Iran Said To Free Two Karrubi Allies On Bail


Morteza Alviri

Morteza Alviri

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran has freed two prominent allies of pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karrubi on bail, Iranian media said, including a female journalist who reportedly went on hunger strike last week.

Hengameh Shahidi, who worked for Karoubi's "Etemad-e Melli" newspaper, was released on bail of around $90,000, ISNA news agency reported.

Last week, reformist website Norouz said she went on hunger strike in Tehran's Evin prison and that she suffered from heart disease and depression.

Shahidi, a women's rights activist who advised Karrubi in Iran's disputed June election, was detained for several months. "Etemad-e Melli" was shut down by the authorities in August.

Karrubi came fourth in the presidential poll, which the opposition says was rigged in favor of hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and which triggered huge opposition protests.

Thousands of people were detained after the vote, though most have since been released.

Earlier on November 1, Iranian newspapers said senior Karrubi adviser Morteza Alviri was released almost eight weeks after he was detained, without giving details on the bail amount.

A reformist website reported on September 8 that agents raided and searched the home of Alviri, a former Tehran mayor and ambassador to Spain, and took him away.

More than 100 senior reformers, activists, journalists, and others detained after the election remain in jail and have been put on trial, accused of fomenting street unrest. The opposition has denounced the court sessions as "show trials."

Several of the accused have received jail sentences and three have been sentenced to death, according to Iranian media. Under Iranian law, the verdicts can be appealed.

The authorities have portrayed the postelection street demonstrations as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic republic. They reject charges of vote-rigging, describing the election as the country's "healthiest" for three decades.
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