Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - August 2, 2005 - Ganji's Wife Appeals to the World
Posted on 08/02/2005 6:20:51 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
Top News Story
Ganji's Wife Appeals to the World
BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
August 2, 2005
WASHINGTON - Defying warnings from the Iranian regime ordering her not to talk to foreign reporters, the wife of dissident journalist Akbar Ganji yesterday told The New York Sun that she has had no choice but to appeal to the international community to save the life of her husband, who today enters Day 53 of a hunger strike. Meanwhile in New York, a spokesman for Secretary-General Annan says his boss has personally intervened with the mullahs on Mr. Ganji's behalf.
In an exclusive telephone interview yesterday, Massoumeh Shafieh said: "We are appealing to the United Nations, human rights groups, and other nations to pressure our government to release my husband. Our struggle must reach out past the borders of Iran now. Our leaders will not listen to their people, they will only respond to external pressure."
Ms. Shafieh said she saw her husband yesterday at Tehran's Milad Hospital and said his health was deteriorating. Mr. Ganji was rushed on July 18 to Milad from Evin Prison, where he had been held since June 11. He was rearrested last month for urging his countrymen to boycott Iran's recent presidential elections after having been temporarily released to seek medical attention for his asthma; the writer deemed fraudulent June's political race, the results of which will bring hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into office on August 6. Mr. Ganji was originally arrested for publishing a series of articles that accused regime leaders of ordering a chain of murders of dissident intellectuals in the late 1990s, and his struggle and hunger strike have made him a hero of Iran's democratic movement.
At one point during Ms. Shafieh's visit to the hospital yesterday, she said, Mr. Ganji tried to stand up after armed guards cursed him only to collapse on the floor from the debilitating effects of his hunger strike that begain on June 11, the day he was most recently taken into custody.
"When he was on the floor, the guards photographed him. It was humiliating," she said. "I was crying so much when I saw him."
Ms. Shafieh confirmed for the Sun the authenticity of Mr. Ganji's recent open letters, including one to a dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, who has, like Mr. Ganji, called on the supreme leader to relinquish power or stand for election.
"Ganji is physically weak, but he is still mentally very strong," his wife said yesterday.
Nonetheless, she said she is now very worried about his health and treatment. "They are trying to break him," she said. Ms. Shafieh went on to say that in a private conversation, the prosecutor that ordered his arrest, Saeed Mortazavi, threatened Mr. Ganji's life at the hospital, where Mr. Mortazavi sent special armed guards to watch Mr. Ganji 24 hours a day.
"Mr. Mortazavi told my husband, 'If you die it will better for the regime. We will put you in a remote place, and in a week or two we will give the number of your tombstone where your family will mourn for you, but they will not mourn for you publicly. They may not arrange a funeral or proper burial but privately I will let them mourn you,'" she said yesterday.
Throughout the interview, Ms. Shafieh said her phone was tapped and the reception faded in and out where faint clicks could be heard in the background. But despite the surveillance, Ms. Shafieh was open in her criticism of the regime.
Ms. Shafieh's plea for international solidarity has attracted in the last six weeks calls for his unconditional release from President Bush, Natan Sharansky, Vaclav Havel, MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Even European Union leaders, whose colleagues are currently negotiating with the Iranian government over its nuclear program, have demanded that Mr. Ganji be freed.
Despite eliciting support from leaders across the globe, until yesterday U.N. Secretary-General Annan had not made a statement on Mr. Ganji's detention. On July 13, Mr. Annan said he did know enough about the political prisoner's circumstances to speak about his case. His spokesman, Stephane Dujarric told the Sun yesterday, however, that "The secretary-general is fully aware of Mr. Ganji's case," adding that "A number of U.N. human rights experts have expressed their profound concern regarding Mr. Ganji's detention and, especially, the lack of medical attention."
Mr. Annan "has been using his good offices and has made direct representations with Iranian officials at a senior level regarding Mr. Ganji in an effort to resolve the situation," Mr. Dujarric said.
Ms. Shafieh said in yesterday's interview that she was unaware of any efforts on the part of the United Nations to raise the profile of Mr. Ganji's case. She said that she would be leading a demonstration on Wednesday in front of the U.N. mission in Tehran asking for support with members of an Iranian student organization, Tahkim Vahdat.
When asked for her reaction to a statement by a former Iranian president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, calling for Mr. Ganji's release, she said she was unimpressed. Mr. Ganji's 1999 book, "The Red and the Gray Eminences" singles out Mr. Rafsanjani as one of the Iranian leaders who ordered the assassination of intellectuals.
"When Rafsanjani said this he was smelling danger. If anything happens, he will say he was innocent and tried to help so as not to be condemned," she said. "But if anything happens, it is too late for him or the others to say they are innocent and have not committed crimes. All of them, the whole entity, has committed crimes and now they are asking for his release."
Even as many Iranian leaders, including the outgoing president, Mohammed Khatemi, call for the release of Mr. Ganji, the political climate has worsened for Iranian dissidents. The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mr. Ganji's lawyer, Abdolfattah Soltani, has been arrested on espionage charges. Activists last night told the Sun that his whereabouts were unknown.
At the end of the interview last night, Ms. Shafieh said that she was asking for support for her husband not only because "he is the father of my two children," but also because "this is not just the cause of my husband, but the cause of our country now. I will continue this work for the memory of my husband, if, God forbid, anything happens."
- SMCCDI reported on the scattered clashes which took place, today, in the northwestern City of Sannandaj located in the Iranian province of Kurdistan.
- The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has adjusted its estimates of when it believes Iran will have nuclear bombs saying that Iran will probably have a nuclear bomb by 2012, but could have the capability as early as 2008.
- Kenneth R. Timmerman, FrontPageMagazine.com published a transcript of Ken Timmerman's speech at David Horwitz's Wednesday Morning Club entitled: Iran: The Threat We Cannot Neglect. A must read for those who have not yet read his book.
- Post-Gazette discussed Debkafile's report that al-Qaida is shifting more than 1,000 of its operatives to Europe for terror offensives.
- Mosnews reported that Israel has asked Ukraine to demand that Iran return 12 long-range cruise missiles purchased during the tenure of the previous Ukrainian government.
- Roozonline reported that an Iranian Judicial official threatened Shirin Ebadi and Ganji's wife.
- Michael Ledeen, National Review discussed, can an atom bomb save the Iranian mullahs from democracy? A must read.
- Iranian blogger, Mansur Ahadi, Roozonline said it appears that because of imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganjis plight has gradually shifted to the apex of the political decision-making pyramid in Iran. ...his principal charge and sentence in both court trials lies in his insults of the Leader.
- Roozonline reported that while there is only a week left from the inauguration of the new Iranian president, there are plenty of events heralding the advent of policies that were forewarned by political observers and activists.
- Reuters reported that Iran said on Monday it had extended by one day its deadline for the European Union to submit proposals to solve a diplomatic impasse over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
- Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran will deliver a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency informing the UN watchdog about its partial resumption of peaceful nuclear work in Isfahan center.
- Business Finance News reported that Germany urged Iran not to take any "unilateral steps" on uranium enrichment.
- Iraqi blogger, Iraq The Model asks are we going to let them win? He argues the US needs to deal with Iran and Syria.
- Dan Darling, The Weekly Standard detailed the birth of the Kurdish terrorist organization, Ansar al-Islam.
- And finally, a photo from the Iranian Students News Agency of the terrorist leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, of Lebanon meeting with Iran's president-elect Ahmadinejad.
Those who want Sharia law are not the majority of Iranians.
I'd like to talk about those Iranians who fight the Sharia law in Iran
There is an Iranian lady working in Canada against Sharia Law Courts there too!
Look at his shoes
It is really hard, as you said, to produce such a number!
But I can tell that more than 90% of people in Iran do not want this type of government but it doesnt mean that all of them are also ready to kill themselves to get rid of the Mullahs
But this regime in Iran is not popular any more
That is for sure
To trust what I said, just chat with Iranians in Yahoo chat rooms and you will find people disagreeing with the regime of Iran
90% are unhappy with the system of governance in Iran but some want reform from within, some want a big change, some want American invasion
Ideas vary there!
I think my friends can correct me if I am wrong
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Your answers where good enough for me. Again I have no doubt as time goes by and the older folks who thought they would benifit from the revolution die off, I can see where the percentage of population would move away from wanting a theocracy. I guess we all have heard numbers thrown around and often depending one where they are heard from if they represent a realistic picture. Thanks for the effort however, I know if a nice chart was available you would have shared it with us. One thing I am certain of at present, and that is that Iraq's Shiite Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani wants no part of a theocracy formed in Iraq. He is one the record as to want a secular democratically elected government, that upholds the Islamic laws, but does not take preceedance over mechanisms that should remain with the government. If this ends up happening despite the much to do over hammering away by the Iraqi Constitutional Council, and a secular government arises, you can bet the good folk in Iran are going to be hopping up and down for a similiar system. And dispite what Iran tries to do, I don't think they are going to get control of Iraq, becuase as long as Sistani's dominanent Shiite sect is in control from the religious majority point of view, the new government has a chance to truly become more secular within bounds of their recognized rules. So this cannot but add fuel/oxygen to the fire burning in Iran for more freedoms. The Iranian Mullahs must fear their time may be drawing to an end.
You are right!
Ayatollah Montazeri and Ayatollah Taheri in Iran are doing the same as Sistani is doing in Iraq.
"Ayatollah Montazeri and Ayatollah Taheri in Iran are doing the same as Sistani is doing in Iraq. "
It is going to be a long hard bloody road. But at least these peoples are showing their more ignorant Arab neighbors that freedom is worth fighting for. Who knows, in a few years it may get un-bearable for the regiem to continue in it's present form. And if we have to start forcing Bashir Asad's hands to play ball, Syria may end up falling into the same boat by default. Don't mean to go of course, but things that happen in one part of the ME can have lasting ramifications on the whole region regardless of ethnic/Religous majorities in any given one. They are all in the same boat when it comes to Islam. If it where not for Islam, regardless of what flavor we might talk about, many of these countries could have been modernized and been turned into fully functional democracies a long time ago. Turkey is an example where the democratic model has had success, and obviously until quite recently, it has remained pretty much secular. So many interwoven things must be taken into account to establish any type of sane picture of what is possible and what is not in the ME and FE.
Let us hope your and other's optimisim as to the potential of Iran ending up a secularized democracy shall come to past in the not to distant future. I find it hard enough just trying to gain a new level of Arabs/Islam, I have not delved into much on Iran due to having a small brain.
Semper Fi Aviator.
Sort of wraps up the whole problem into one picture.