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Ex-Iran Mayor’s Sentence Reduced

December 24, 1998

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ An Iranian appeals court has reduced the sentence of a former Tehran mayor convicted of corruption from five years to two years in jail, a judiciary statement said today.

The court in the Iranian capital also reduced to 10 years from 20 years the period Gholamhossein Karbaschi was banned from assuming public office.

It replaced his sentence of 60 lashes with a fine of $3,000, the statement said. This would be in addition to the original fines he was ordered to pay: $330,000 as punishment and $200,000 that he must pay back the city.

Karbaschi, a key ally of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, had been a target of hard-line political rivals, and many Iranians saw the trial as a political settling of scores. The judiciary in Iran is controlled by hard-liners.

Karbaschi’s lawyer, Bahman Keshavarz, said his client, who seeks complete exoneration, would protest the decision by the appeals court.

``I do not accept the ruling,″ said Keshavarz, adding that he will protest to the prosecutor general on Saturday.

Karbaschi was found guilty in July of embezzlement during his eight years as Tehran’s mayor. He filed an appeal in August.

It was not immediately clear when Karbaschi, who has been out on bail, will begin serving his sentence.

During his trial, which lasted more than a month, Karbaschi admitted to making mistakes, but denied stealing public money.

Karbaschi won wide respect for his work as mayor because of city improvements he implemented. But he also made enemies among the merchant class, upset by new taxes, and hard-liners angered at his pro-Khatami stance.

Riots erupted in Iran soon after Karbaschi’s arrest in April.

For many Iranians, the televised trial gave the first insight into Iran’s judicial process and moderates saw it more as an indictment of the judiciary than the mayor.

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