September 4, 2005

Iran dissident journalist Ganji back in jail

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Dissident Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji
has recovered sufficiently from his two-month-long hunger
strike to return to prison, Iran's Justice Minister Jamal
Karimirad said on Sunday.

Ganji, jailed in 2000 after writing a series of articles
linking senior officials to the murder of political dissidents,
was hospitalized in July when his health deteriorated due to a
hunger strike aimed at pressuring authorities to release him.

The outspoken reporter, whose plight brought comments of
outrage and concern from the United States and European Union,
eventually called off his hunger strike after more than 60 days
last month.

"Akbar Ganji was released from hospital yesterday and
returned to the prison," Karimirad told the official IRNA news

Ganji's wife has said he only ended his fast after
receiving assurances from judiciary officials that he would be
allowed to go home.

Iran says it considers EU and U.S. calls for Ganji's
release as meddling in its internal affairs.

Ganji's lawyer Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace
Prize, told Reuters her client should have been freed from
prison long ago on parole since he has completed almost all of
his six-year term.