Ganji, a leading investigative reporter for the now-defunct reformist daily Sobh-e-Emrooz and a member of the editorial board of the now-defunct, pro-reform daily Fath, was prosecuted in Iran’s Press Court and its Revolutionary Court.
The case in the Press Court stemmed from Ganji’s investigative articles about the 1998 killings of several dissidents and intellectuals that implicated top intelligence officials and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. In the Revolutionary Court, Ganji was accused of promoting propaganda against the Islamic regime and threatening national security in comments he made at an April 2000 conference in Berlin on the future of the reform movement in Iran.
The result of the case in the Press Court remains unclear, but on January 13, 2001, the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ganji to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of internal exile. In May 2001, after Ganji had already served more than a year in prison, an appellate court reduced his punishment to six months.
The Iranian Justice Department then appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, arguing that the appellate court had committed errors in commuting the original 10-year sentence. The Supreme Court overturned the appellate court’s decision and referred the case to a different appeals court. On July 16, 2001, that court sentenced Ganji to six years in jail. According to the state news agency IRNA, the ruling was “definitive,” meaning that it cannot be appealed.