Iran General NewsAnnan asks Iran to release journalist

Annan asks Iran to release journalist

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AP: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a letter to Iran’s president Friday seeking the release of a jailed investigative reporter who has been on a hunger strike for more than a month, a U.N. official said. Akbar Ganji, jailed in 2000 for reporting that intelligence officials had killed five Iranian dissidents, is believed to be in critical condition. Associated Press

NICK WADHAMS

UNITED NATIONS – U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a letter to Iran’s president Friday seeking the release of a jailed investigative reporter who has been on a hunger strike for more than a month, a U.N. official said.

Akbar Ganji, jailed in 2000 for reporting that intelligence officials had killed five Iranian dissidents, is believed to be in critical condition. Though Iranian officials claim he ate earlier this week, his wife says the hunger strike, which he began in June, continues.

Annan’s letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks Ganji’s “immediate release on humanitarian grounds,” a U.N. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Iran had not yet received the letter.

The U.N. spokesman’s office confirmed that Annan had sent a letter to Iran about Ganji, but would not disclose the document’s contents until it is delivered.

Four months ago, Ganji went on hunger strike for a month, then broke the strike after he was released on May 30 on medical leave. He was taken back to prison on June 11 and went on hunger strike again. He has been on hunger strike since, and was taken to the hospital July 18.

On July 13, Annan was asked whether he would protest Ganji’s treatment. He replied that he did not know enough about the case to comment.

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