Journalist released from prison

New York, May 31, 2005—Iranian authorities temporarily released imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji.

Ganji was released for medical leave on Sunday, according to press reports.
Judicial authorities had previously refused Ganji’s request to be released on medical leave, prompting him to start a hunger strike on April 18. Ganji ended the strike after his release.

Ganji’s lawyer said he was uncertain if his client would be returned to jail, according to The Associated Press.

Ganji, a leading investigative reporter for the now defunct reformist daily Sobh-eEmrooz, was sentenced to six years in jail for his investigative articles about the 1998 killings of several dissidents and intellectuals that implicated top intelligence officials and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani is now running for president in next month’s national elections.

“We welcome the release of our colleague,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “But Ganji should have never served one day in prison, and we demand that his release be permanent.”