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Middle East
Iran detains former president's daughter
Faezeh Rafsanjani, convicted in early January, is now being held in Tehran's Evin prison, officials say.
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2012 21:47
Rafsanjani has been a journalist, women's rights activist and member of the Iranian parliament [GALLO/GETTY]

The daughter of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been arrested and jailed under a six-month sentence for "propaganda against the regime," the Tehran prosecutor's office has said.

"Faezeh Hashemi was arrested on Saturday evening to serve her sentence," the statement, released on Sunday, said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Hashemi was among thousands arrested for taking part in protests that erupted after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given a second term in a 2009 election amid claims by the opposition that the vote was rigged.

Although authorities released her, they put her on trial last year on charges of creating and disseminating anti-government propaganda. She was found guilty but her sentence was not implemented until now.

Gholamhossein Esmaili, the country's prisons chief, told the the Mehr news agency that Rafsanjani was taken to Tehran's Evin Prison.

In 2009, she had addressed supporters of defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, who had gathered in defiance of a ban on opposition protests.

Her latest detention comes as Mehdi Rafsanjani, her brother, is expected to return to Iran after living and studying in the United Kingdom.

Officials have called for Mehdi's arrest upon arrival in Iran, accusing him of fomenting unrest after the 2009 vote.

A source told the Reuters news agency that Mehdi was currently in Dubai and was expected back in Iran on Sunday.

The wealthy Rafsanjani family has faced heightened pressure from hardliners since the 2009 vote, which set off the deepest political crisis and worst unrest the country had seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The centrist Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the founding figures of the Islamic Republic and a close aide to the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, expressed sympathy for opposition demonstrators and saw his own power and influence wane as a result.

Rafsanjani, who still heads the country's top political arbitration body, has faced demands from conservatives that he publicly condemn Iran's opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both of whom languish under
house arrest.

Since last year, Rafsanjani has distanced himself from the opposition figureheads.

In March 2011, he lost his post as head of the state clerical body, the Assembly of Experts, consolidating the ascendancy of President Ahmadinejad.

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Source:
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