Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji is confined to special section of prison

Reporters Without Borders:

Reporters Without Borders today reiterated its outrage at the treatment of journalist Akbar Ganji after his wife, Massoumeh Shaffii, and one of his lawyers visited him on 17 October and confirmed that he is still physically and psychologically debilitated after his hunger strike and that he has been put in a “special” wing of Tehran’s Evin prison where inmates are often tortured.

“As a journalist and prisoner of conscience, Ganji has no place in a high security wing,” the press freedom organisation said. “We again call for his immediate and unconditional release and at the same time we urge the authorities to let independent international organisations visit him at once in Evin prison to verify his condition and the torture allegations.”

Shaffii said after visiting her husband that his situation “was even worse that anything we could have imagined.” She also said he need treatment to his left shoulder.

Ever since his transfer back to Evin prison from Milad hospital on 3 September, Ganji has been in solitary confinement in this special wing. Only Revolutionary Guards can go there. Former detainees say torture sessions are common in this section of the prison.

While the uncertainty continues about the fate of Ganji, the former editor of the weekly Rah-e-No and Iran’s leading prisoner of conscience, the intelligence ministry has been summoning independent journalists and representatives of journalists’ associations for questioning.

Some have been threatened during these interrogation sessions and all have been notified of a ban on talking about the appointment of Revolutionary Guards to key positions in national and local government. Many journalists now fear that a new wave of arrests may be imminent.