Iran General NewsKhatami criticises dissident's hunger strike

Khatami criticises dissident’s hunger strike

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AFP: Iran’s outgoing reformist President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday criticised the “obstinacy” of dissident jailed journalist Akbar Ganji in continuing a one-and-a-half month hunger strike. “We are truly awaiting for Mr Ganji to stop his hunger strike and put himself forward to the judicial authorities so that he can use his prerogatives but he has refused to halt his hunger strike,” Khatami told reporters. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran’s outgoing reformist President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday criticised the “obstinacy” of dissident jailed journalist Akbar Ganji in continuing a one-and-a-half month hunger strike.

“We are truly awaiting for Mr Ganji to stop his hunger strike and put himself forward to the judicial authorities so that he can use his prerogatives but he has refused to halt his hunger strike,” Khatami told reporters.

“If you want to solve a problem without fuss everyone needs to act with tolerance and restraint and if every party shows obstinacy then that will only complicate things.

“I think that even in the case where someone’s rights are trampled on, it is necessary to act with restraint to achieve a right that is more significant. I hope that this problem can be solved by being reasonable.”

Ganji, who was sentenced in 2001 to six years behind bars over articles he wrote linking senior regime officials to the serial murders of several intellectuals and writers, has been on hunger strike since June 11.

He was transferred last week from his Tehran prison to a hospital in the capital, fueling concerns about his health although the judiciary says he simply needed a knee operation and had ended his hunger strike.

The judiciary said last week it was considering a pardon for Ganji, whose case has raised international concern, but no decision has since been forthcoming.

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