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Iranian Judiciary denies report about Ganji's health

Tehran, April 23, IRNA-Iran's judiciary rejected Saturday media reports that jailed journalist Akbar Ganji's health had taken a turn for worse.

"Ganji's general condition is good and he has no acute physical problem in prison," Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad told IRNA.

photo: ISNA

He was reacting to reports published in certain websites and foreign media that Ganji was ill and that the health of the journalist who has been in jail since 2001, had started to deteriorate.

"Not only Ganji, but all prisoners are under regular check-ups and supervision of the (Evin) prison's health team," Karimi-Rad said.

The official stated that Ganji had been granted a five-day leave during Iran's Noruz holidays, between March 21 and April 1, where he had 'overstayed the leave for nine days and then returned to prison'.

Ganji is serving a six-year jail term since January 2001 on a battery of charges, including for linking some of the country's top officials to a string of murders of Iranian intellectuals, which were blamed on rogue intelligence agents.

One of his cellmates dissident cleric Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari was released in February after serving about two-thirds of his seven-year jail term for a series of charges.

Eshkevari had been jailed for spreading lies, insulting Islamic sanctities as well as participating in a controversial conference in Berlin, denounced here as aiming to topple the Islamic Republic.

An appeals court in Tehran once quashed his death sentence, handed down by the Special Court for the Clergy, on apostasy charges.

The mid-ranking cleric was arrested on August 5, 2000 upon his return from the Berlin conference on 'changes in Iran', sponsored by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, which is linked to Germany's Greens party.

The political conference in Berlin was attended by 15 reformist activists and two translators. They were all summoned to the revolutionary court and faced trials, with the exception of Eshkevari, whose case was referred to the special clergy court as he is a cleric.

Among them were Ganji and student leader Ali Afshari who was released from jail after writing a repentance letter.

The meeting was frequently interrupted by banned Iranian opposition groups. Television pictures showed one man disrobing and a woman dancing.

The meeting was branded as a threat to the national security and the participants were upbraided for having 'disgraced' the country in front of 'counter-revolutionaries'.

Six defendants who attended the conference were acquitted

... Payvand News - 4/23/05 ... --

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