Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Iran detains human rights activists on security charges, news agency says

: The head of an Iranian human rights group was arrested on charges he violated national security, official media reported on Sunday.

The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted an unnamed official as saying that Emadeddin Baghi, the head of a prisoner rights' group, had been detained.

IRNA said members of Baghi's family had taken part in meetings that were arranged by the opposition to topple Iran's Islamic regime.

"Baghi was doing his activities against national security under the cover of defending prisoners' rights," IRNA quoted the unnamed official as saying.

The report did not elaborate on the meetings.

Today in Africa & Middle East

In 2003, Baghi was sentenced to three years in prison on similar charges. He served two years and one year was suspended.

"Now, the suspended term will go into force," the official was quoted as saying. IRNA did not provide more details.

Baghi has criticized authorities for allegedly mistreating prisoners. Calls to Baghi's office, his family and judicial officials were not immediately returned.

Iran recently released three Iranian-Americans after they spent about four months in prison on accusations of trying to stir up a revolution in the Islamic Republic.

A fourth Iranian-American also was allowed to leave the country after authorities confiscated her passport earlier this year. All four were charged with endangering national security — allegations they and their employers denied.

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