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Former Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s ally gets prison time

An Iranian court sentences a close ally of former hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to six-and-a-half years in prison, semi-official ISNA news agency reports.

The report quotes Tehran Justice Department chief Gholamhossein Esmaili as saying Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei was sentenced to five years for plotting and conspiring to commit crimes against national security, one year for propaganda against the Islamic Republic system and six months for insulting officials.

The sentencing can be appealed within 20 days.

Esmaili also says there are other cases against Mashaei in court and they will be announced after the prosecution process.

In March, Mashaei was detained after he burnt a copy of a court verdict sentencing Hamid Baghaei, another Ahmadinejad ally, to 15 years for misuse of public funds when he was Ahmadinejad’s vice president.

During Baghaei’s trial, Ahmadinejad repeatedly appeared outside the court criticizing many officials, including the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani.

Several of Ahmadinejad’s allies are in jail over similar charges.

— AP

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