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Iranian Religious Scholar Jailed On Propaganda, Insult Charges

Ahmad Qabel, Iranian religious researcher, has been sentenced tp 20 months in prison for "spreading antistate propaganda and insulting the supreme leader."
Iranian scholar Ahmad Ghabel has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for spreading antistate propaganda and insulting the supreme leader, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ghabel's wife Marzieh Pasdar told Radio Farda that on December 14 the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad sentenced him to 12 months in jail on a charge of "spreading propaganda against the regime," and a further eight months for "insulting Iran's supreme leader." He was also banned for three years from granting interviews and from delivering lectures to an audience of more than three persons.

Pasdar said Ghabel has been forbidden to leave his place of residence for three years. He was further fined 4 million tomans (nearly $4,000) for possession of a satellite dish, and his laptop was confiscated.

Pasdar said that her husband has not committed any crime.

Ghabel was arrested in December 2009 on his way to the funeral of dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, but released on bail after spending nearly six months in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad in northeastern Iran. He was rearrested in September.

In an interview with Radio Farda at the time, Pasdar said that one of the reasons for Ghabel's arrest was the information he had made public about executions in Vakilabad prison.

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