20 Mar 2010

Leading Iranian reformist loses jail appeal

4:01 pm on 20 March 2010

A leading Iranian reformist, former vice-president Hossein Marashi, has been jailed after an appeals court upheld his one-year prison term.

Mr Marashi was sentenced for spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic during the protests after last year's disputed presidential election.

At the centre of his case was an interview in which he encouraged people to gather outside Tehran's Evin prison to protest against the detention of political activists.

The appeals court also upheld a ban on political activity for Mr Marashi. It was not immediately clear how long the ban would last, the BBC reports.

Opposition supporters staged large street protests following the June election, saying the poll was rigged to ensure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The government denies the charge.

The fight must continue - Mousavi

Meanwhile, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi says the fight for reforms must continue. In a statement to mark the Persian new year, he says that a "retreat would be treason to Islam, the nation and to the blood of the martyrs".

At least 30 protesters have been killed in clashes since the poll, although the opposition puts the number at more than 70. Thousands have been detained and some 200 activists remain behind bars.