Monday, January 02, 2006

Health of Jailed Iranian Dissident Deteriorating

The wife of jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji said that her husband's health has deteriorated after four months in solitary confinement. A number of Ganji's ailments have "worsened" and are being "compounded by a digestive disorder, while no treatment is being given to him," Massoumeh Shafiie told AFP by telephone.

She said she had visited him on Sunday, marking the third time she had seen the dissident writer since he was released from hospital and returned to jail on September 3.

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

"There has not been any positive change in his situation... he still weighs 50 kilograms (110 pounds)," she said.

Shafiie said she visited Ganji along with his daughters, mother, brother and lawyer, and that the visit lasted for about one hour.

"It was his 122nd day in the solitary cell and his second visit with our daughters during the past 130 days." READ MORE

The dissident's wife also expressed worry about the judiciary's silence regarding previous speculation that Ganji would be pardoned before the whole period of his sentence comes to an end on March 21.

"Unfortunately, we have no news from the judiciary about his case and this makes us anxious and worried," she said.

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 in 1998.