Iran Court Convicts Editor, Author of Banned Daily
An Iranian court convicted on Sunday the editor and a contributor of a banned newspaper over a series of charges, including lying about Islam and spreading anti-regime propaganda, reports said.
The media watchdog banned the reformist Bahar daily in October 2013 after it published an article the authorities deemed as an insult to Shiite Islam for questioning one of its core beliefs.
Its editor-in-chief, Saeed Pourazizi, who was detained and released on bail following the closure, was on Sunday convicted of "propaganda against the establishment and spreading lies and rumors," ISNA news agency reported.
The Tehran criminal court found Ali Asghar Gharavi, the article's author, guilty of writing "against the standards of Islam" and "spreading lies and rumors," the agency added.
The court also ruled the newspaper was guilty of spreading "propaganda against the establishment and insulting Islam and its sanctities."
The decision could see Bahar permanently banned, while Pourazizi and Gharavi now have to wait for the court's ruling on their sentences.
President Hassan Rouhani, a self-declared moderate who has pledged to implement more freedom, has said the closure of newspapers must be taken as "a last resort".
But three reformist dailies have so far been banned by the press watchdog since he took office in August.