Saturday, July 30, 2005

Rafsanjani Asks For a Pardon For Akbar Ganji

ELi Lake, The NY Sun:
A former president of Iran, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, yesterday said that he had asked the Justice Ministry to grant a pardon to jailed dissident journalist Akbar Ganji, who has been on a hunger strike since June 11.

The statement represents a surprising twist from Mr. Rafsanjani, who lost the Iranian presidency in a runoff election last month to hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr. Ganji was originally sentenced to prison time in 2001 after publishing a book and a series of articles that accused Mr. Rafsanjani and his associates of ordering a string of murders of dissident intellectuals in the late 1990s; Mr. Ganji was rearrested following a medical leave on June 11 for urging his countrymen to boycott last month's presidential election.