Iran bars lecturer from leaving for Italy
Iran has prevented a prominent human rights lecturer charged with spying from leaving to take part in a conference in Italy about the Palestinians, the labour news agency ILNA reported on Monday.
"My client, who was an organiser and host of the event was due to travel to Florence on March 25. But he was informed that he was not allowed to leave the country," his lawyer Mohammad Sharif was quoted as saying, AFP reported.
University professor Mehdi Zakerian, 41, was arrested in July 2008 on charges of espionage, but ILNA did not say when he was released or give the circumstances.
Sharif said a revolutionary court held a hearing in the case in February but that no verdict had yet been issued, adding that the authorities have seized Zakerian's passport.
Zakerian is a board member of Iran's prestigious Centre for Scientific Research and Middle East Strategic Studies and heads its department of Israel studies.
In March last year, Iran barred feminist and journalist Parvin Ardalan from leaving the country to receive the 2007 Olof Palme Prize in Stockholm which she had been awarded for her campaign for equal rights for women in Iran.