Top Iranian economist jailed for 9 years: Lawyer

Top Iranian economist jailed for 9 years: Lawyer Tehran, Dec 02: Leading Iranian economist Saeed Laylaz has been sentenced to nine years in prison for protesting against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his lawyer said today.

"The court of first instance has sentenced Laylaz to a nine-year jail term," Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Laylaz was charged with taking part in illegal gatherings and possessing classified documents, the lawyer said, adding that the court had also refused to release him on bail.

A prominent reformist, Laylaz has been an outspoken critic of Ahmadinejad's political and economic policies. Iranian media have reported that 81 people, among them reformists, journalists and political activists, have so far been sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 years for opposing Ahmadinejad's victory.

The Islamic republic was plunged into one of the worst political crises in its 30-year history when mass protests erupted against Ahmadinejad's re-election in June.

Thousands of people were arrested and dozens killed.

The opposition charges that some detainees were abused or raped in custody. About 140 protesters have been put on trial.

The heavy jail term for Laylaz came a day after top dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri urged the authorities to "correct their wrong way and gain people's and God's satisfaction," over the post-election unrest.