Iran General NewsEU calls for release of Iran dissident

EU calls for release of Iran dissident

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Reuters: European Union president Britain on Friday called on Iran to free hunger-striking journalist Akbar Ganji, saying he was a prisoner of conscience, said a statement by the British embassy in Tehran. Ganji, an outspoken critic of Iran’s clerical leadership, was jailed for six years in 2001 for articles he wrote linking officials to the murders of dissidents.
Reuters

TEHRAN – European Union president Britain on Friday called on Iran to free hunger-striking journalist Akbar Ganji, saying he was a prisoner of conscience, said a statement by the British embassy in Tehran.

Ganji, an outspoken critic of Iran’s clerical leadership, was jailed for six years in 2001 for articles he wrote linking officials to the murders of dissidents.

Ganji’s wife said when she last saw her husband on Monday he was in very poor health after more than 50 days of hunger strike in protest at the authorities’ refusal to release him on grounds of ill health.

“EU requests urgent call on Iranian authorities to call for release of prisoner of conscience, Akbar Ganji,” the headline of the embassy statement said.

The British ambassador also requested to visit Ganji in the hospital where he is being held. Britain currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the 25-nation EU.

“I am very worried about my husband,” Ganji’s wife, Masoumeh Shafeei, told Reuters. “I thank the British government for their efforts … At least we can get some information about his health if they let the ambassador visit him.”

Iran’s conservative judiciary has refused to bow to international pressure and calls from senior Iranian officials to release Ganji.

Some Iranian Web sites last week published a letter they said was written by Ganji in which he harshly criticised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and asked him to step down.

A lawyer for the former Revolutionary Guard turned reformist campaigner was arrested this week on charges of leaking secrets from a nuclear spying case. And the judge who sentenced Ganji was shot dead in his car in Tehran on Tuesday.

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