Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wife of Iran journalist without news for 3 weeks

The wife of jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji complained that she had had no news of the dissident for three weeks and said he was being held in "medical quarantine", according to AFP.

"For the past 20 days, I have had no news of my husband and I am very worried about his health after such a long hunger strike," Massoumeh Shafiie wrote in an open letter to Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Ganji, Iran's most prominent political prisoner, was sent back to jail from hospital more than a week ago after agreeing to end a hunger strike that lasted close to two months.

Shafiie said she had been told by judiciary officials that Ganji was "in medical quarantine, which adds to our worries" and added that they should "keep their promises" and release him. READ MORE

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Jamal Karimi-Rad said Ganji was in good health and denied he was back in solitary confinement.

Ganji, 46, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2001 after he wrote articles implicating several regime officials in a string of gruesome murders of opposition intellectuals and writers -- crimes that shocked the country.

Last month United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote to Iran's new hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to ask for Ganji's release "on humanitarian grounds".