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Iranian Court Convicts Editor

November 30, 1999

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Iran’s press court has convicted one hard-line editor for insulting a senior cleric and acquitted another, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Tuesday.

Masoud Dehnamaki, managing editor of the weekly Shalamcheh, was convicted Monday, the agency said. The court has 10 days to decide on the sentence.

The managing director of the daily Abrar, Mohammad Safizadeh, was acquitted, the agency reported.

The two editors went on trial Monday after accusations by reformist groups that they were ``spreading lies, publishing false reports and insulting people,″ Tehran television reported.

A few hard-line journalists and officials have gone on trial, but all have received lenient sentences.

Since his landslide election in 1997, President Mohammad Khatami has pushed for political reform, calling for an easing of strict social codes and greater freedom of speech.

But hard-liners have taken a number of Khatami’s closest allies to court and arrested journalists. Three leading reformist newspapers have been shut down over the past year.

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