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Iranian MPs bar security forces from campuses
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posted February 15, 2001 09:19
TEHRAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Iran's reformist parliament passed a bill on Wednesday that would bar security forces from campuses and seminaries.
The measure comes after a 1999 bloody police raid on a university hostel.
State media said deputies approved the bill, setting stiff jail sentences for forcible entry into campuses, allowing police intervention only in emergency cases.
The measure still needs to be approved by the Guardian Council, a conservative-run body that vets legislation, before it becomes law.
The 1999 attack by the police and hardline Islamic vigilantes, aimed at suppressing a pro-democracy student rally, provoked some of the worst unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Parliament's measure allows security forces to enter campuses, including Shi'ite Muslim seminaries, only with authorisation from the chancellor or senior officials.
The inclusion of seminaries appeared to be aimed at preventing raids by security forces on schools run by dissident clerics, such as Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.
Montazeri has been under house arrest in the holy city of Qom in central Iran since he criticised supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 1997.
Iranian universities and religious schools have traditionally been a hotbed of anti-government protests in Iran.
Although universities have been traditionally off-limits to police forces since the revolution, the ban had not been supported by any law before.
All times are PT (US)
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