US-Iranian scholar's sentence reduced

TEHRAN: An Iranian appeals court has reduced to five years a 15-year jail term imposed on US-Iranian scholar Kian Tajbakhsh for his alleged role in post-election unrest in June, his lawyer said today.

“The appeals court sentenced my client

to five years in prison,” Hooshang Azhari told Fars news agency,

without specifying the charges.

Tajbakhsh, an urban planning expert, was among thousands of people detained in the aftermath of the re-election on June 12 of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a vote the opposition charges was massively rigged.

He was among scores of people put on trial in August and was handed 15 years in jail in October.

Fars said he had been accused of “acting against security, spying, links with foreigners opposing the (Islamic) system” and ties with US billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Iran accuses the institute of seeking to “softly” topple the Islamic republic’s regime. Iran has arrested scores of dissidents, journalists and senior reformists on suspicions of acting against the country’s security and instigating protests against Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

Several were given heavy jail terms and some have been released on bail pending appeal.

At least 12 people have been condemned to death over the anti-government riots, according to an AFP tally based

on press and news agency reports.