NewsSpecial WireJailed dissident says Iran leader plans to have him...

Jailed dissident says Iran leader plans to have him killed

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jul. 24 – Iran’s jailed hunger-striking journalist Akbar Ganji has sharply attacked the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accusing him of planning to orchestrate his murder with the help of his cronies in the judiciary and the security services. The explosive allegations came in an open letter by Ganji to a prominent dissident ayatollah, Hossein-Ali Montazeri, that was posted on Persian-language websites on Sunday. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jul. 24 – Iran’s jailed hunger-striking journalist Akbar Ganji has sharply attacked the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accusing him of planning to orchestrate his murder with the help of his cronies in the judiciary and the security services.

The explosive allegations came in an open letter by Ganji to a prominent dissident ayatollah, Hossein-Ali Montazeri, that was posted on Persian-language websites on Sunday. Montazeri was the designated successor to the Islamic Republic’s founder, but fell from grace before Ayatollah Khomeini’s death in 1989. He now lives under house arrest in the city of Qom, south of Tehran.

“These gentlemen want to kill me and put the blame on my wife and friends”, Ganji wrote in his letter, which he dated Friday, July 22, the forty-second day of his hunger strike.

“If Ganji dies under any circumstances, his murderer is Mr. Khamenei”, the imprisoned journalist wrote.

Ganji accused the Supreme Leader of ordering Tehran’s Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and others to “get rid of Ganji”. Mortazavi has been implicated in the murder of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Evin Prison in the summer of 2003.

“Saeed Mortazavi came to see me on the evening of Sunday, July 17”, Ganji wrote. “He said, your death will be 100 percent advantageous to the Islamic Republic. But if you die and foreigners make a big thing out of it, it will be 50 percent harmful to the state. So we brought you to hospital to reduce the chances of your dying. But death in hospital would be quite natural”.

Ganji praised Ayatollah Montazeri for his “courageous stance” against “the large-scale execution of prisoners in the summer of 1988, when others were silent in the face of that crime against humanity”.

A United Nations human rights report described mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in a few weeks in 1988 as “the darkest pages in the history of the Islamic Republic”. The Iranian authorities react forcefully to any mention of the killings, which were carried out after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious decree, ordering the authorities to exterminate political prisoners. Journalists and intellectuals who have mentioned the massacre in public forums and newspapers have been thrown in jail.

Ganji reserved his harshest words for Khamenei. He strongly rejected the concept of Velayat-e Faqih, the theory of government propounded by Ayatollah Khomeini, according to which the country’s senior religious leader must have supreme political authority.

“When this theory is implemented and becomes a reality, its inhuman face becomes apparent”, the jailed journalist wrote. “Iran’s problems will be solved when the concept of Velayat-e Faqih withers away and the Supreme Leader goes away”.

Ganji’s letter was sharply critical of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami.

“Does Mr. Khatami not know how Mr. Khamenei made use of him to hold two illegitimate parliamentary and presidential elections and compelled him to call both elections sound and democratic, while he wanted to use this to homogenize the regime?” Ganji wrote. “Mr. Khatami knows well what democracy and free and fair elections are, but he calls Mr. Khamenei’s for-life rule ‘democracy’ and describes the Leader as a ‘model’ for young people”.

On Sunday, human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi warned that Ganji, who is her client, was in failing health and complained she had not been allowed to visit him.

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