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November 19, 2002

MORE DEFIANCE OF THE MULLAHS IN IRAN:

More than 4,000 students came out to march today, the Iranian Student News Agency said, and student leaders said their demands went beyond Mr. Aghajari's release. They said they would press for the release of all political prisoners and for a guarantee of freedom of speech.

"We demand unconditional release of Mr. Aghajari but demand freedom of speech and opinion for everyone and forever," Abdullah Momeni, one of the speakers at the university today, said in a telephone interview afterward.

Mr. Momeni added that the students did not consider apostasy, the charge against Mr. Aghajari, a crime. He said the judiciary, which generally supports the hard-liners in the government, was acting like courts in the Middle Ages.

"Apostasy has no meaning in the world today, which favors freedom of speech and opinion," he said.

Hurray.