03 November 2005

 

United States Calls for Release of Iranian Political Prisoner

Reports say Akbar Ganji's health is "at serious risk"

The United States has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Iranian democracy activist Akbar Ganji, who has been in prison more than five years and is reported to be in poor health following a hunger strike and physical abuse at the hands of Iranian authorities.

In a November 3 State Department press release, spokesman Sean McCormack compared Ganji to other Iranian dissidents “who have challenged the clerical regime's repressive policies and who have suffered dire consequences for their efforts to advance the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.”

In the statement, McCormack urged the international community to press Iran for the release of all political prisoners.

Following is the text of the statement:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
November 3, 2005

STATEMENT BY SEAN MCCORMACK, SPOKESMAN

Imprisoned Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji

Over the past week, the United States has received reports that jailed Iranian activist Akbar Ganji's health is at serious risk.  This is consistent with his wife's charge in late October that Iranian authorities are continuing to beat Ganji, and similar non-governmental-organization reports that he was abused, even while hospitalized, following his August 2005 hunger strike.

Mr. Ganji has spent more than five years in prison due to his peaceful advocacy for free speech and democracy.  His imprisonment and any inhumane treatment are serious violations of fundamental human rights.

The United States calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Akbar Ganji, as well as his immediate access to medical assistance and legal representation.  Ganji is one of many courageous Iranians, like Ahmad Batebi, Hoda Saber, Taqi Rahmani, and Reza Alijani, who have challenged the clerical regime's repressive policies and who have suffered dire consequences for their efforts to advance the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.  The United States calls on the international community to continue to press for the release of all political prisoners in Iran.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)




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