Iran Reformer Freed From Prison

Associated Press

The director of a pro-reform newspaper was released Saturday after spending 15 months in Iran's Evin prison on charges of insulting Islam and provoking riots at Tehran University.

Latif Safari, director of the banned Neshat newspaper and a Tehran University professor, was greeted at home by dozens of family members and fellow journalists.

Safari had served half of his 30-month sentence, and it was unclear why he was released early.

He was convicted on multiple charges, including provoking riots with articles about an attack by police and hard-line vigilantes on a university dormitory in July 1999. He was sentenced that September and imprisoned in April 2000.

"I think imprisonment is part of the price for democracy and reforms. I think it is well worth it, because the achievements of reforms in Iran are not few," Safari said.

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