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Iranian Alert - July 18, 2005 - Ganji Is Near Death in Iranian Prison, a Dissident Reports
Regime Change Iran ^ | 7.18.2005 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/18/2005 7:39:40 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

Top News Story

Ganji Is Near Death in Iranian Prison, a Dissident Reports

BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
July 18, 2005

WASHINGTON - Akbar Ganji's 36-day hunger strike has nearly cost the Iranian dissident his life, according to a writer recently released from the Tehran prison that holds Mr. Ganji, whom President Bush and European Union leaders have demanded the mullahs set free.

In a telephone interview from Tehran, a former political prisoner who was released temporarily from Evin prison at the end of June, Amir Abbas Fakhravar, told The New York Sun that Mr. Ganji's kidneys had failed and that he was seen yesterday by two fellow inmates in Evin's hospital wing laying unconscious on a floor as two guards tried to prop him up.

"I received word this afternoon from two inmates who saw Akbar Ganji in the prison hospital and was not moving at all. Two guards were trying to get him to walk, but he was unconscious, lying on the ground and not able to walk," Mr. Fakhravar said. "He is on the verge of dying."

On Saturday, a Persian wire service, Tabriz News, published a statement from Mr. Ganji contradicting published reports from the Iranian judiciary that claimed his condition was good. "Since the statements of the judiciary do not express the truth about my conditions, I am not willing to cooperate with the clinic officials on recording my vital signs effective now, Saturday July 17, 2005." Another Persian wire service reported that Mr. Ganji's wife was denied a visit yesterday to Evin prison. She told the Islamic Republic News Agency yesterday that Mr. Ganji has refused intravenous injections that could keep him alive.

Mr. Ganji was sentenced in January 2001 for publishing a series of articles and a book, "The Red Eminence and the Gray Eminences," that charged senior regime officials with playing a direct role in a series of assassinations of Iranian intellectuals and dissidents in the late 1990s, which have become known as the "chain murders." On June 11, Mr. Ganji was re-arrested after allegedly violating the terms of his medical leave (he suffers from asthma) when he gave an online interview urging his countrymen to boycott last month's presidential election. In the interview, he challenged the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to stand for office. On the same day, Mr. Ganji began his current hunger strike, subsisting since then on water and sugar cubes.

Mr. Fakhravar last month was granted a temporary release from Evin prison, where since 2002 he had been serving an eight-year sentence for publishing a criticism of Ayatollah Khamenei called "This Place Is Not a Ditch." In 2003, Mr. Fakhravar became one of the first members of the democratic opposition in Iran to call for a constitutional referendum to rescind the powers of the supreme leader and Council of Guardians that have since 1997 stymied the efforts of reformers to expand individual liberties in Iran.

He was released temporarily from Evin to complete his university examinations, and in the interview yesterday, he said, "I forgot to report back to prison." Mr. Fakhravar is ignoring a warrant for his arrest issued by Iranian authorities.

When asked whether he was willing to risk his life by speaking on the record, he replied, "My objective in life is to free my country that is in such misery." He added, "This is what we are about, and we have no fear."

Mr. Fakhravar said that Mr. Ganji was placed in solitary confinement in section 240 of Evin prison, an area of the facility where, according to Mr. Fakhravar, female enemies of the revolution in 1979 and 1980 were raped before they were executed. "It is against Islamic law to kill a virgin," he said.

Regarding the details of Mr. Ganji's captivity, Mr. Fakhravar said, "I saw him in the first 10 days of the hunger strike. After 10 days, they took him to solitary confinement."

The account squares with Mr. Ganji's letter last month from prison, in which he said the regime would not allow other inmates or journalists to see him. A second letter, claiming to be from Mr. Ganji, has circulated around the Internet in the last four days. Mr. Fakhravar yesterday said he doubted its authenticity, due to Mr. Ganji's failing health.

As Mr. Ganji's body weakens, more people around the world have taken up his cause. Opendemocracy.net, in conjunction with the International Society for Iranian Studies-Committee for Academic and Intellectual Freedom and International PEN, has circulated a petition calling on the supreme leader to free Mr. Ganji. More than 100 have signed the petition so far, including the South African archbishop and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu; an MIT linguistics professor, Noam Chomsky, and a University of Chicago philosopher, Martha Nussbaum.

Last week, a separate letter from 33 Iranian intellectuals urged the U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, to intervene personally. When asked about Mr. Ganji on Wednesday by the Sun, the secretary-general said he did not know enough about the dissident's case to take a stand. Five U.N. human rights rapporteurs on Friday issued a statement calling on the Iranian regime to offer Mr. Ganji adequate medical care for his asthma and afford him a fair and impartial trial. The statement, however, did not directly call for his release from prison.

Recent attention from intellectuals and activists may not be enough to save the journalist this newspaper has called the Iranian Vaclav Havel. Mr. Fakhravar yesterday said he feared that Mr. Ganji would soon be dead. At the end of the interview yesterday, he said: "Never in these past 25 years has the Islamic republic been in so much turmoil. The minute Akbar Ganji dies, you will see what a revolution looks like here."

A Daily Briefing of Major News Stories on Iran:




TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
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"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin

1 posted on 07/18/2005 7:39:55 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 07/18/2005 7:41:36 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Akbar Ganji, a very brave man.


3 posted on 07/18/2005 8:41:28 PM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: Valin

He can be Patrick Henry of Iran!


4 posted on 07/19/2005 12:03:28 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: nuconvert; RaceBannon; freedom44; parisa; Prophet in the wilderness; peacebaby; Fred Nerks; ...
Miss Canada: Ramona Amiri (Iranian-Canadian)

She is also christian, from Vancouver, BC!!

5 posted on 07/19/2005 1:17:45 PM PDT by Khashayar (Oh You Little...!)
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To: All

An undated handout picture shows Iran's jailed dissident Akbar Ganji laying at a prison hospital in Tehran. Concerns about the health of Ganji mounted after he was admitted to hospital outside his Tehran prison, following a five-week hunger strike.(AFP/HO/File)

6 posted on 07/19/2005 1:19:04 PM PDT by Khashayar (Oh You Little...!)
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To: Khashayar
Ganji, my heart and my prayers are with you. What an incredibly wonderful human being. For the human excrement that calls itself the government of Iran, all I can say is I hope your fall is swift and complete. Ganji is a hero!

Oh, and Khashayar, thank you for the pics, not only of Ganji, but also of Ramona. She is beautiful!

7 posted on 07/19/2005 2:13:13 PM PDT by Reborn
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To: Reborn; nuconvert; McGavin999; freedom44; persiandissident; parisa; Valin; AdmSmith; RaceBannon; ...

An interview with Masoumeh Shafiei, Akbar Ganji's wife

http://releaseganji.net/hostednews.php#313


8 posted on 07/19/2005 4:50:23 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: Khashayar

I could be in love!


9 posted on 07/19/2005 8:31:48 PM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: DoctorZIn
To read today’s thread click here.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

10 posted on 07/20/2005 7:52:46 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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