Akbar Ganji – Iran

Post Scriptum October 10, 2006: Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji will receive the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, by the Martin Ennals Foundation, on Wednesday October 11, 2006, together with Arnold Tsunga from Zimbabwe. They will receive the award from Mrs. Louise Arbor, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Ceremony will take place at the ‘Batiment des Forces Motrices’ in Geneva/Switzerland, within the International North South Media Festival. A reception will follow immediately after the ceremony from 18.30-20.30h.

This site has been linked later (April 02, 2006) with the text IRANIAN PERSONALITIES ON THE ATOMIC CRISIS.

Post Scriptum March 18, 2006: Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji Released! Human Rights First welcomes the release on March 18 of jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji. Mr. Ganji served a six-year prison sentence in reprisal for publishing numerous articles and a book that implicate government officials in the murder of Iranian intellectuals and writers in the 1990s.

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Akbar Ganji’s long-time hunger strike has nearly cost the Iranian dissident his life. He was sentenced in January 2001 to ten years imprisonment for his investigative articles and speeches, announced his hunger strike on 20 May with the words: “No one should be imprisoned – not even for a second – for expressing an opinion”.

Akbar Ganji – Iran

He and other Iranian dissident intellectuals are fighting for free speech against an extreme religious ideology based on violence, dictatorship, fanaticism and terrorism.

An appeal to Iran, 20 Jul 2005: Free Akbar Ganji, by openDemocracy – The imprisoned Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji is gravely ill in the second month of a hunger strike. A worldwide group of writers sends this letter to the Iranian authorities demanding his immediate release.

Now his wife says he is fighting with death.

This is the letter addressed to the high level autorities: We, the undersigned independent, non-partisan, international organisations and community of concerned journalists, academics, artists, writers, intellectuals, and defenders of human rights, express our grave anguish over the critically deteriorating health of the jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji and call on Iranian authorities for his immediate release.

Akbar Ganji , a renowned Iranian investigative journalist, has been in jail since his arrest in April 2000, following his return from a conference at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin. He was sentenced in January 2001 and, after an appeal court overturned his initial sentence, he was once again tried and condemned in July 2001.

Ganji was ultimately sentenced to six years imprisonment on grounds of his journalistic exposé (in 2000) of the serial murders of five opposition intellectuals by members of the Iranian security forces in 1998, as well as for the views he had expressed at the Berlin conference.

Ganji remains a prisoner of conscience, serving a jail sentence for no more than his peaceful expression of views and journalistic activities. His case has been documented extensively by Amnesty International , Human Rights Watch , Reporters Without Borders , International PEN , and International Freedom of Expression Exchange , among numerous other independent international organisations .

Ganji suffers serious medical conditions (acute asthma and other respiratory ailments) and his health has fast deteriorated in recent weeks due to his treatment in prison, lack of adequate access to medical care, and his hunger strike in protest of his continued confinement and mistreatment. He is now into his second month on hunger strike. According to one of his lawyers, Shirin Ebadi (the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate), Ganji’s condition is extremely dire.

Akbar Ganji is an honorary member of the Canadian, English, and Lichtenstein PEN Centers. He is a recipient of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression 2000 International Press Freedom Award .

Ganji sent a letter from prison that can be considered his will and testament. In it, he says that if he dies in custody the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei, will be responsible. This is because Khamenei has allowed extremists gradually to take control of the judiciary and the majlis (parliament), and once Ahmadinejad accedes to the presidency they will also have the executive branch in their hands.

At 7 PM on Thursday, May 19th 2005, Ganji went on an indefinite hunger strike to protest his unfair and illegal treatment, including the refusal to grant him medical leave. This is while he is severely ill and is in dire need of special medical attention. We Iranian journalists and bloggers are extremely concerned about Ganji’s health, and we call on human rights organizations to take immediate measures to pressure Iran’s judiciary to release and treat him. In the present circumstances, international human rights organizations and freedom-loving people all over the word are responsible for the protection of Akbar Ganji’s life.

Akbar Ganji is one of the most prominent voices among the reformist groups and individuals who form a significant component of Iranian society. Thousands of intellectuals, university students and political activists have signed open letters and petitions for the release of this human-rights champion and appealed to the international community for solidarity, even at great risk to themselves.

Wednesday October 27, 2005 – After 61 days of no news on Akbar Ganji, his wife, Massoumeh Shafiei, published an open letter revealing some information about the disturbing treatment he had received at the end of his stay in Milad hospital and his subsequent transfer back to Evin prison in Tehran. It reads: … … “His health is much worse than the time he was in Milad hospital. In our last visit on August 28, he was getting better with better nutrition. The prison is responsible for prisoner’s food and health. Why do they not give him proper food, nor allow any visit while he is kept in solitary cell? Why do they refuse to give him his medicine? “I know you may not be able to do much for Ganji, just like me, but I want you to be informed of the injustice done to us. Those who are responsible for Ganji’s situation are those who were on the receiving end of his criticisms. Regards, Massoumeh Shafiei, 27 October 2005″.

Now his wife says he is fighting with death.

On this site downward you’ll find the names and addresses of highest Leaders in Iran, to continue to protest.

Links:

open democracy;

Persian Students in UK;

Direland;

the Iranians;

BBC News;

for a secular Republic of Iran;

Iranian Students.

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