Free Akbar Ganji

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We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the condition of Mr. Akbar Ganji, the Iranian investigative journalist and a prominent advocate of human rights and civil society who has been in prison for the past five years. Mr. Ganji was arrested on April 22, 2000 following his participation in an academic and cultural conference held at the Heinrich Bцll Institute in Berlin, April 7-9, 2000. He was sentenced on January 13, 2001 to 10 years' imprisonment plus five years' internal exile.

On May 15, 2001 an appellate court reduced Ganji's sentence on appeal to six months' imprisonment and overturned his sentence of five years in exile. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the appellate court's decision and referred the case to a different appeals court. On July 16, 2001 Ganji was again sentenced to six years in prison on charges of collecting confidential information that harms national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic regime by attending the Berlin conference.

As Ms. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Laureate and Mr. Ganjis attorney, reported Ganji started a hunger strike on May 19, 2005 and ended on May 25th in order to give the opportunity to authorities to respond to his concerns. Mr. Ganji has suffered from asthma for a few years and now shows serious symptoms of illness such as severe coughing. Mr. Ganjis illness is not responding to his old medications and he needs to be re-examined in short order. Ms. Ebadi has asked Judicial authorities several times, on his behalf, to allow him to be seen and treated by outside physicians, but unfortunately these requests have been all rejected. His health is now deteriorating and his return to another hunger strike that is reported by his wife will further jeopardize his life.

We express our astonishment that a person, who has served his country, has devoted his life to the improvement of civil society and has come to be known as one of the most vocal and respected journalists of his time should be treated in this way. Mr. Ganji is an honorable member of the PEN Canada and continues his work and writing even from inside the prison wards. It appears that major reason for keeping Ganji in prison might be due to a series of articles he had written as an investigative journalist implicating leading Iranian political figures in the 1998 murders of several dissidents and intellectuals.

We believe that Mr. Ganji is held in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic.

We are very disturbed by the health and prison conditions of Mr. Ganji. We demand that Akbar Ganji be released immediately and unconditionally and charges against him dropped. In addition we urge you to ensure that he receives immediate and proper medical treatment while his release is being processed.

1. Ahmadi Ramin, Yale University, New Heaven, CT
2. Alamdari Kazem, Department of Sociology, California State University, Los Angeles, CA
3. Amineh Mehdi P., Senior Research Fellow, International Institute for Asian Studies, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
4. Amirahmadi Hooshang, Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
5. Amir Arjomand Said, Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, & Crane Inaugural Fellow in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University, NJ
6. Ardavan, Houshang , Director of Studies in Mathematics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
7. Bayat Asef, Professor, Academic Director, Chair Inernational Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), Leiden University, The Netherlands
8. Beeman William O., Professor, Anthropology; Director, Middle East Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI
9. Behrooz Maziar, Assistant Professor, History Department, San Francisco State University, CA
10. Bodnar Judit, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
11. Boroujerdi Mehrzad, Associate Professor of Political Science, Syracuse University, NY
12. Cole Juan, Professor of History, University of Michigan, MI
13. Dabashi Hamid, Professor, Columbia University, NY
14. Dansker Emil, Professor Emeritus, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio
15. Davis Dick, Chair and Professor of Persian, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Ohio State University, OH
16. Eghtedari Goudarz, Systems Science Program, Portland State University, Portland, OR
17. Ehsani Kaveh, Research Scholar, University of Illinois Chicago, IL
18. Entessar Nader, Professor of Political Science & Law, Spring Hill College, Mobile Alabama
19. Eskandari Mohammad, Clark University, Worcester, MA
20. Farhi Farideh, Dept. of Political Science, University of Hawaii, HI
21. Garthwaite Gene R., Dartmouth College, NH, U.S.A.
22. Gasiorowski Mark, Department of Political Science, Louisiana State University, LA
23. GhaneaBassiri Kambiz, Assistant Professor of Religion and Humanities, Reed College, Portland, OR
24. Gheytanchi Elham, Santa Monica College, CA
25. Hashemi Nader, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada
26. Hastings Tom H., Director, Peace & Nonviolence Studies, Conflict Resolution MA/MS, Portland State University, Portland, OR
27. Hulbe Christina, Department of Geology, Portland State University, Portland, OR
28. Kar Mehrangiz, Ford Foundation International Fellow, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, MA
29. Katouli Enayat, Laney college, Oakland, California
30. Kian-Thiйbaut Azadeh, University of Paris, France
31. Landy Joanne, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, New York City, NY
32. Mahdi Ali Akbar, Professor of Sociology, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio
33. Mashayekhi Mehrdad, Department of Sociology, George Mason University. VA
34. Masjedi Fatemeh, Political Science Department, Illinois State University, IL
35. Mayer Ann Elizabeth, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, PA
36. Mills Margaret A., Professor, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Ohio State University, OH
37. Moaddel Mansoor, Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, Eastern Michigan University, MI
38. Mohammadi Ali, Professor of International Communication, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham,
39. Mohammadi Majid, Department of Sociology, SUNY-Stony Brook, NY
40. Moruzzi Norma Claire, Associate Professor, Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois Chicago, IL
41. Nafissi Azar, Visiting Fellow, The Foreign Policy Institute, The Johns Hopkins Universitys School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC
42. Najmabadi Afsaneh, Professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Chair, Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University, MA
43. Naraghi Arash, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
44. Newby Robert, Professor of Sociology, Central Michigan University, MI
45. Niroomand-Rad Azam, Professor, Department of Radiation Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, D.C.
46. Parsa Misagh, Chair and Professor of Sociology, Dartmouth College, NH, U.S.A.
47. Payrow Shabani Omid, Professor, Philosophy Department, University of Guelph, Canada
48. Perkovich Michael J., Lecturer, East -West University, Department of Business, Chicago, IL
49. Peterson Dick, Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University, MI
50. Pirouz Kamrouz, Montclair State University, New Jersey, U.S.A.
51. Rastegar Kamran, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
52. Rejali Darius, Political Science, Reed College, Portland, Oregon
53. Roshandel Jalil, Visiting Assistant Professor, Political Science Dept. Duke University, North Carolina
54. Saleh Shahriar, National Institute of Health, D.C..
55. Shahpari Hasan, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
56. Singer Peter, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
57. Spitz Stephen, Public Radio, U.S.A.
58. Taati Poopak, Ph.D. Independent, Washington DC
59. Tetreault Mary Ann, Una Chapman Cox Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Trinity University, San Antonio TX
60. Toensing Chris, Editor, Middle East Report, Washington, DC
61. Tofighi Davood, Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE
62. Tohidi Nayereh, Chair & Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge, CA
63. Yaghmaian Behzad, Ramapo College of New Jersey, NJ
64. Zangeneh Hamid, Professor of Economics, Widener University, PA