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Iranian Baha'i Activist Given Long Prison Term

A human rights activist and Baha'i follower who was barred from studying at a university has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Navid Khanjani, 24, was found by the court to be a member of the central council of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, which was established for students who were not allowed to attend universities in Iran.

Khanjani was found guilty by the court of "spreading lies," "agitating public opinion," and "propaganda against the regime by publishing news, reports, and interviews with foreign TV and radio," it was reported on January 31.

Banned from studying at a university allegedly because he was a member of the Baha'i faith, Khanjani formed a group in 2009 called the Population to Combat Educational Discrimination.

Khanjani was arrested in Esfahan in 2010. After a 65-day detention in the ward in Tehran's Evin prison, he was released after posting bail. Khanjani had previously been barred from leaving Iran.

Mostafa Khosravi, a student activist and member of the policy-making committee of the Graduates Association of Iran, told Radio Farda that such harsh crackdowns on student activists are unprecedented.

Khosravi noted that Iran's student movement has been under pressure by various governments since it was founded 57 years ago. But in the past 18 months, many opposition students have faced nonstop suppression for taking part in activist activities.

Iran's chief prosecutor, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, said on January 31 that sentences for 15 people arrested during the postelection unrest have been finalized and will be announced in the near future. He did not say the names of the 15 prisoners.