Middle East

Iran jails former President Rafsanjani's daughter

Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani - file image from 2009
Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani is a former MP and a critic of the government

The daughter of the former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been sentenced to six months in prison for "making propaganda against the ruling system".

Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani's trial took place behind closed doors last month.

According to the conservative website Mashregh News, she has been banned from taking part in political, cultural and media activities for five years.

She has 20 days to appeal against the sentence.

Correspondents say that her punishment may be turned into a suspended jail term on appeal, as often happens with opponents of the Iranian authorities.

Faezah Rafsanjani has given interviews in recent months in which she defended her father's position - and this appears to be her offence. Akbar Rafsanjani has refused to condemn Iran's two most prominent pro-reform leaders.

Faezah Rafsanjani is a former MP and the most politically active of Mr Rafsanjani's children. She was briefly detained in February 2011 after taking part in a banned protest march.

The former president's political influence has decreased in recent years, and his website was recently shut down.

In 2009, during the protests that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election, Mr Rafsanjani angered hard-liners by calling for the release of detained opposition members. In March 2011 he lost his position as head of Iran's highest clerical body, the Assembly of Experts.

He now retains only one political position, as head of the Expediency Council, but his term there ends in April and it is unclear whether he will keep that role.

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