Iran Focus: London, Mar. 18 A prominent dissident journalist has been released from prison in Iran after serving a six-year term since 2000 for writing a book in which he exposed the role of a number of senior officials of the clerical regime in the murder of dissidents throughout the country. Iran Focus
London, Mar. 18 A prominent dissident journalist has been released from prison in Iran after serving a six-year term since 2000 for writing a book in which he exposed the role of a number of senior officials of the clerical regime in the murder of dissidents throughout the country.
Akbar Ganjis release was confirmed by his lawyer. Ganji went on hunger strike for a brief period last year to gain an earlier release date.
The official state news agency quoted the Deputy Prosecutor General in Tehran as saying that Ganjis sentence officially ends on March 30 and that he was being given prison leave because of the Persian New Year, which falls on March 21.
Top American and European officials and a number of international human rights organisations had called on Tehran to release him.
In a series of articles beginning in 1998, Ganji revealed that the macabre killing of a number of dissidents in Iran had been carried out by the countrys dreaded secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
Among the extrajudicial killings that Ganji revealed to have been carried out by MOIS agents was the murder of two Anglican bishops and a pastor in Iran in 1994 and 1995. The government initially blamed the opposition Peoples Mojahedin (or Mojahedin-e Khalq, MeK) for the killings and set up a show trial of three alleged MeK members, but Ganji later revealed that the Christian priests were killed by MOIS agents in a bid to tarnish the image of the Islamic regimes opponents.
Ganji also unveiled insider information showing that the secret police was behind the bombing of the most revered Shiite shrine in Iran in 1994, in another disinformation exercise designed to discredit the dissident MeK.
He was also convicted of harming national security for taking part in a conference in Berlin in April 2000 on the political situation in Iran.
Ganji was an officer in the Revolutionary Guards and later spent a brief spell in Turkey as Irans cultural attaché, before turning into an investigative journalist and dissident.