Accessibility links

Breaking News

Retrial Begins Of Iranian Dissident

3 July 2004-- The retrial of Iranian dissident Hashem Aghajari opened briefly in Tehran before adjourning for two days, and the hard-line judiciary has allowed the hearing to be open to the public.

News agencies reported that the Tehran University history professor appeared feeble and that he complained of months of solitary confinement during his nearly two years in custody and out of public view.

Aghajari today was charged with insulting religious sanctities, propagating against the regime, and spreading false information.

If convicted on all counts, he could face a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.

Aghajari had been sentenced to death in his first trial two years ago for apostasy after making a speech that criticized the country's system of religious hierarchy.

After the verdict sparked widespread student protests, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei intervened and ordered a retrial.

At the end of June, the judiciary dropped all charges against Aghajari that could lead to the death penalty.

The hearing was adjourned until 5 July.