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Iran court sentences two students to death -paper

TEHRAN, Iran, December 25, 1999 (Reuters) - An Iranian court has sentenced two students to death for their role in a social unrest in Tehran in July, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The daily Fath quoted a student group as saying that Akbar Mohammadi and Ahmad Batebi had been convicted by the court as ``Mohareb,'' or someone who makes war on Islam, a charge punishable by death under Islamic sharia law.

The Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence on Mohammadi, the group said.

No official confirmation of the report was available.

Mohammadi was charged with using petrol bombs during the riots which broke out when police and armed vigilantes attacked students after a peaceful pro-democracy demonstration, the paper said.

Batebi was convicted of endangering national security and promoting anti-government propaganda when he displayed a bloody shirt during the riots. Photographs of Batebi holding up the shirt were widely used in Western media.

The six-day unrest in Tehran and several other cities was the worst in Iran since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution.

Around 1,500 pro-democracy students were arrested in Tehran and the northwestern city of Tabriz.