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Iranian Alert - July 25, 2005 - Havel Joins Bush, Sharansky in Plea for Ganji's Life
Regime Change Iran ^ | 7.25.2005 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/25/2005 6:59:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

Top News Story

Havel Joins Bush, Sharansky in Plea for Ganji's Life

BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
July 25, 2005

WASHINGTON - A new letter from Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji, authenticated yesterday by his wife, predicts that if he dies, his death will "water the harvest of freedom."

Also, a former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, has joined President Bush; a former Soviet dissident, Natan Sharansky, and European Union leaders in calling for Mr. Ganji's unconditional release from prison by the Islamic Republic. This newspaper has called Mr. Ganji, who has become a symbol of the democratic opposition in his country, the Iranian Havel. He has been on a hunger strike since June 11 in protest of his detention for urging a boycott of last month's presidential election in Iran.

In a letter addressed to a dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, once heir apparent to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mr. Ganji wrote, "If Ganji is killed, his death is not the death of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Ganji's death may act as spring in a desert and water the harvest of freedom," according to a translation by the BBC's Persian service.

In the letter, Mr. Ganji dares the ruling mullahs to let him die, saying that his passing would spark outrage throughout the country. The political prisoner urges his countrymen to oppose the regime. As in his prior communications from prison, the latest letter says that if he dies from his hunger strike, his blood will be on the hands of the supreme leader, whom he says "must go."

This letter and one from Mr. Ganji's wife, Massoumeh Shafieh, suggest that earlier reports that the journalist was being kept alive through intravenous injection at Tehran's Milad Hospital, where he was rushed from Evin Prison last Sunday, were wrong. In an open letter posted on Iranian opposition Web sites over the weekend, Ms. Shafieh said her husband has continued to lose weight and his condition has worsened since his arrival at Milad.

Mr. Ganji's latest letter to Mr. Montazeri is likely to resonate with Iranians who regard the octogenarian cleric as a leading force for democracy in the country. Like Mr. Ganji, Mr. Montazeri was an early supporter of the 1979 Islamic revolution, but the cleric became disenchanted by 1987 and began publicly speaking out against the regime's human rights abuses and purges of its former political allies. Mr. Montazeri was placed under house arrest in Qom in 1997 for questioning the divine authority of supreme leader.

Mr. Ganji's letter is a signal that the reformist movement of the outgoing president, Mohammed Khatemi, has collapsed. Mr. Ganji, who was long associated with the political movement, asks, "Does Mr. Khatemi not know how Mr. Khamenei used him to hold the illegitimate elections for the seventh Majlis [Iranian parliament] and the presidency in order to make the state homogeneous, and forced him to describe both these elections as sound and democratic?"

Mr. Ganji today will be in his 44th day of a hunger strike he has vowed not to break until he is released unconditionally from prison. He began his latest act of civil disobedience when he was rearrested on June 11, after giving an interview to Rooz Online calling for a boycott of last month's presidential elections.

Mr. Ganji's case has attracted international attention in recent weeks. On July 21, a former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, joined world leaders and dozens of intellectuals in calling on the Islamic Republic to release Mr. Ganji unconditionally from prison. In a letter to Mr. Khamenei, Mr. Havel, along with a former Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, and the two American chairmen of the Committee on the Present Danger, wrote: "We are concerned that Mr. Ganji's imprisonment is due only to the exercise of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As your county has ratified this Covenant, we ask that you reconsider Mr. Ganji's case, which is further mitigated by his ill health, and that you order his unconditional release at this time."

The Committee on the Present Danger last December released a policy paper calling on coercive diplomacy with Iran's supreme leader to allow transparent elections. The paper called for President Bush to offer to reopen the American Embassy in Tehran that was seized in the 1979 hostage crisis in an effort to increase ties with the country's burgeoning pro-democracy movement.

The international campaign to free Mr. Ganji may be having an effect in Tehran. Last week, the outgoing justice minister told Iranian reporters that he was considering granting the journalist a pardon. Mr. Khatemi last week also said he would favor ending Mr. Ganji's sentence now, six months before his time would be served.

His family has cast doubt on the possible deal. Ms. Shafieh told the BBC on Friday that any pardon may require her husband to ask forgiveness from the court, something Mr. Ganji has said he will not do. Mr. Ganji's lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel laureate, yesterday told Reuters that she has not been able to visit her client in Milad Hospital. "As Ganji's lawyer, I have not been allowed to visit him in the hospital," she said. "This is unlawful."


Iranian blogger, Maryam Kashani, Roozonline reported Tehran’s Prosecutor, Mortezavi, has demanded that Ganji have foot surgery despite medical counsel that putting him under anesthesia would mean death. Mortezavi has threatened that if the medical team at Milad hospital refrains from performing surgery, he will get another team from a different hospital. Ganji’s kidney is reported already to have stopped functioning due to torture and his hunger strike.

A Daily Briefing of Major News Stories on Iran:

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

1 posted on 07/25/2005 7:00:04 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 07/25/2005 7:01:33 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

We just need Jesus and Moses to come forward and support him!

Does the regime listen to all these supporters around the world?


The Mullahs are inhumane

3 posted on 07/26/2005 12:40:13 PM PDT by Khashayar (Oh You Little...!)
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To: DoctorZIn; parisa; nuconvert; Reza2004; persiandissident; freedom44; King Prout; AdmSmith; Valin; ..

Concert in Sweden in support of Ganji, Zarafshan and other political prisoners in Iran

4 posted on 07/26/2005 1:40:43 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: All
People gathered to commemorate those writers and authors killed by the regime

5 posted on 07/26/2005 2:34:16 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: F14 Pilot

Thanks for all the pictures

6 posted on 07/26/2005 2:39:03 PM PDT by nuconvert (No More Axis of Evil by Christmas ! TLR) [there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: Khashayar

The mullah's are walking in the footsteps of Stalin.

7 posted on 07/26/2005 3:31:56 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Islam. Understand Evil. Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD link My Page.)
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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”

8 posted on 07/27/2005 8:19:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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