Monday, September 19, 2005

For your information and action:

U.N. envoy urges release of Iranian journalist
16 Sep 2005 14:32:07 GMT / Source: Reuters
GENEVA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - A United Nations rights investigator on Friday called for the release of dissident Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji, reimprisoned upon discharge from hospital despite poor health after a lengthy hunger strike. Ambeyi Ligabo, U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said Tehran should grant Ganji an "unconditional amnesty".Iran's judiciary this week denied a claim by Ganji's wife that he had been put in solitary confinement after being discharged from hospital following his hunger strike, insisting instead that he was in a shared cell. "I understand that, after a few weeks in a hospital under police surveillance, Mr. Ganji has been imprisoned again in spite of his poor health," Ligabo said in a statement."I call on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to grant him an unconditional amnesty on humanitarian grounds and to release him without further delay."Ganji, jailed in 2000 after writing a series of articles linking senior officials to the killing of political dissidents, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2001.He was taken to hospital in July as his health deteriorated due to a hunger strike aimed at pressuring officials to free him. He ended his two-month-long hunger strike in August following promises from judiciary officials that he would be allowed to go home.Ligabo, who met Ganji in November 2003 at the notorious Evin prison, said Iranian authorities had told him then that they were considering the possibility of releasing him.Ligabo was among five independent U.N. investigators, who all report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, to issue a statement expressing alarm about Ganji's health in mid-July.
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IHRAG (Iranian Human Rights Activist Groups in EU and North America)
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