Reporters Without Borders today hailed a report received from a reliable local source of an improvement in the health of imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji. The source quoted Milad hospital spokesperson, Dr. Sirous Tabesh, as saying Ganji, who began a hunger strike on 11 June, has agreed to take medicine and to eat foods recommended by the hospital's doctors.
"This is positive news after more than 65 days of anxiety," the press freedom organisation said. "We hope it will be confirmed by Ganji's family and lawyers, who are still waiting to be granted the right to visit him. Only a visit would allow us to definitively confirm that he has called off his hunger strike."
Reporters Without Borders added that it also supported the start of talks with judicial officials. Reached by telephone, Ganji's wife, Massoumeh Shafii, confirmed to the organisation that "a dialogue with the Iranian judicial authorities has begun."
But she stressed that she had not seen her husband since 1 August and therefore could not confirm whether "he really has stopped his hunger strike." She added, "I hope the efforts undertaken on both sides will help resolve my husband's problem soon."
A writer for the pro-reform dailies Sobhe-e-Emrouz, Neshat and Asr-e-Azadegan and editor of the weekly Rah-e-No, Ganji has been in prison since 22 April 200. He was given a six-year jail term in 2001 for "attacking state security," for "insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic and the regime's sacred values" and for "propaganda against the Islamic Republic." Five weeks after starting his hunger strike, he was transferred to Milad hospital where doctors recognised his condition as critical.
... Payvand News - 8/22/05 ... --