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Iran Overturns Death Sentence For MKO Member

A cell in Tehran's Evin prison (ISNA) September 15, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Tehran has overturned the death sentence of a former Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) member who has been held in an Iranian prison in Iran for six years.

Said Masuri was condemed to death in 2001 for his alleged role in an MKO "military mission" aimed against the Iranian government.

Masuri had lived in Norway since 1988, but traveled to Iran in 2001. He was arrested before he was able to carry out his alleged mission.

Masuri's cousin, Manuchehr Masuri, told Radio Farda that officials at Tehran's Evin prison had announced they were reducing his sentence. "Last week when his mother went to visit him at the prison, officials told her that his death sentence has been reduced to life imprisonment," Masuri said, adding that his cousin was "very happy" about the news.

"He has returned to life. Now he and his family are requesting that he be transfered from Section 209," he said. Section 209 is reportedly under control of Iran's Intelligence Ministry.

Amnesty International and other rights groups in the past have accused prison officials of subjecting Masuri to torture and solitary confinement during his imprisonment.

Amnesty has also called on Tehran to arrange a retrial for Masuri that conforms to international standards.

The MKO is a militant Iranian opposition group that has been based in Iraq since the early 1980s. The group is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and the European Union.

Ramin Jahanbegloo

Ramin Jahanbegloo

Ramin Jahanbegloo speaking in Tehran in 2004 (AFP)

THE FOURTH WAVE: In late April, it was announced that the Iranian authorities had arrested noted intellectual RAMIN JAHANBEGLOO. Jahanbegloo is a professor of philosophy in Iran and Canada and is the author of more then 20 books, including "Moje Chaharom" ("The Fourth Wave"). In November 2004, Radio Farda correspondent Fatemeh Aman interviewed Jahanbegloo about the current generation of Iranian intellectuals and its distinctive features.

Radio Farda: It seems that in your book you see a unique status and mission for the fourth generation in the process of progress and democratization in Iran. Why is that and what are the most important characteristics of this generation of intellectuals?

Ramin Jahanbegloo: The fourth generation is distinct from former ones for several reasons. First this is a democratically minded generation that cares about democratic values. This generation has a political approach toward these values and, importantly, it is heavily colored by the active presence of women. The other distinct feature of this generation is its belief in modernity. This modernity is not an imitation one, but rather is based on discourse. If in the past many thought they can become modern by imitating the Western way of life, today's intellectuals know that the real route to modernity is by understanding the modern world in the West and channeling this thought process into social, cultural, and political institutions....(more)


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