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EU says concerned about Iranian human rights

Written by: Staff

HELSINKI, Aug 24 (Reuters) European Union President Finland today said it was concerned about human rights in Iran, and called for an investigation into the death in prison of student activist Akbar Mohammadi.

''The EU asks the Iranian authorities to carry out an independent investigation on the death of Mr Mohammadi,'' Finland said in a statement.

Mohammadi, arrested for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations in 1999, died while on a hunger strike on July 31. He was the first political dissident known to have died in an Iranian prison for many years.

''The European Union is gravely concerned about the situation of the Iranian human rights defenders,'' Finland said, adding that questions remained over whether Mohammadi received proper medical care while on hunger strike.

The Iranian Justice Minister Jamal Karimirad told Reuters in July that Mohammadi had been under intense supervision by the prison physician.

Finland said today the EU will also monitor Akbar's brother Manoucher Mohammadi and other detained Iranian student activists.

Akbar Mohammadi was originally sentenced to death as ''mohareb'', or ''one who wages war against God'', for his part in 1999 protests after police and hardline vigilantes attacked a peaceful campus rally in support of press freedoms.

Mohammadi's punishment was reduced to a 15-year prison term in 2000 following the intervention of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Reuters LL RS1735

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