Sunday, June 11, 2006

Iran's judiciary frees two journalists on bail

Iran's judiciary freed two journalists on bail after they were arrested for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a lawyer said on Sunday.

The two reporters, Elham Afroutan and Mohsen Dorostkar, were arrested in January after they published an article in a local newspaper based in the Gulf province of Hormuzgan.

"Afroutan was released on Sunday evening after 300 million rials (around $33,000) bail was posted," Afroutan's lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, told Reuters by telephone. READ MORE

He said his client still faced charges of insulting Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, and Khomeini, spiritual father of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Afroutan also faces charges of "making propaganda against the system", Khorramshahi said.

Dorostkar, the editor-in-chief of the Hormuzgan weekly journal "Tamaddon-e Hormuzgan", was freed on Saturday after posting the same bail as Afroutan, Khorramshahi said.

Both deny the charges against them, he said.

The two reporters were held at Tehran's notorious Evin prison, where several prominent dissidents are jailed.

Rights group Amnesty International had expressed concern about the welfare of Afroutan soon after her arrest.