Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Dangerous Iranian Anarchist Akbar Ganji Captured

IC Publications: "Dissident Iranian journalist, on prison leave, re-arrested: wife
Iran's most prominent dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, has apparently been arrested again even though he was out of jail for medical treatment, his wife told AFP Wednesday.

"While my husband was out last night with some friends, 10 officials from the Tehran prosecution office came for him with an arrest warrant," Massoumeh Shafiie said.

She said the warrant had been signed by Tehran's notorious hardline prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi. After the arrest team left, she said Ganji did not return home.

"I've had no news from him. He has probably been arrested," she said.

In 2001, Ganji was sentenced to six years over articles he wrote linking senior officials, including top cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian, to the serial murders of several intellectuals and writers.

Rafsanjani is seeking a comeback as president in the June 17 election, and is currently placed as frontrunner in the race.

Ganji was released from jail on May 29 for medical treatment. He was given leave for seven days initially, which could be extended if he produced a medical certificate.

"We had sent a certificate from the doctor on Tuesday, but this has not been taken into account," Shafiie said.

Since being released, Ganji has continued to speak out against the clerical regime and has called for a boycott of the polls.

Last month he also published an attack against supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and claimed "physical and mental torture" was being used in Evin prison to extract confessions from prisoners.

The judiciary later said it was investigating the text.

According to Ganji's family and lawyers, including Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, the writer is suffering from chronic asthma -- a common ailment in Tehran -- and should be granted an immediate and unconditional release.

New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning prosecutor Mortazavi's re-arrest warrant and called for it to be rescinded immediately.

"Mortazavi has shown once again that he is calling the shots in the judiciary and is willing to go to any lengths to silence his critics," said Joe Stork, the watchdog's deputy Middle East director.

"Powerful people were implicated by Akbar Ganji's investigations," Stork said. "They are willing ... to put him behind bars again even though he has committed no crime whatsoever.""