Friday, May 13, 2005

Iran frees political dissident

The Pennisula:
Iran has freed a leading political prisoner jailed for publishing a survey suggesting Iranians favoured resuming dialogue with their supposed arch-foe the United States, his lawyer said yesterday.

Iran's hardline judiciary in 2003 sentenced Abbas Abdi to four-and-a-half years in prison for selling intelligence to the enemy, referring to a poll that suggested three-quarters of Iranians wanted dialogue with the United States.

But the supreme court last week ruled the United States was not officially defined as an enemy. Following this verdict, Abdi walked free after 30 months in prison.

This is an unprecedented ruling, because five senior judges including a cleric suggest the United States is not an enemy, Abdi's lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told Reuters by telephone.