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Iran - Systemkritik

Free Akbar Ganji: an appeal to Iran

openDemocracy, 20. juli 2005

The imprisoned Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji is gravely ill in the second month of a hunger strike. A worldwide group of writers sends this letter to the Iranian authorities demanding his immediate release.

This letter is addressed to the following:

  • Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
  • Hojjatoleslam Sayyid Mohammad Khatami (President of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
  • Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (Head of the Iranian Judiciary)
  • Mohammad Hassan Zia'i-Far (Secretary of the Islamic Human Rights Commission)
We, the undersigned independent, non-partisan, international organisations and community of concerned journalists, academics, artists, writers, intellectuals, and defenders of human rights, express our grave anguish over the critically deteriorating health of the jailed Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji and call on Iranian authorities for his immediate release.

Akbar Ganji, a renowned Iranian investigative journalist, has been in jail since his arrest in April 2000, following his return from a conference at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin. He was sentenced in January 2001 and, after an appeal court overturned his initial sentence, he was once again tried and condemned in July 2001.

Ganji was ultimately sentenced to six years imprisonment on grounds of his journalistic exposé (in 2000) of the serial murders of five opposition intellectuals by members of the Iranian security forces in 1998, as well as for the views he had expressed at the Berlin conference.

Ganji remains a prisoner of conscience, serving a jail sentence for no more than his peaceful expression of views and journalistic activities. His case has been documented extensively by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, International PEN, and International Freedom of Expression Exchange, among numerous other independent international organisations.

Ganji suffers serious medical conditions (acute asthma and other respiratory ailments) and his health has fast deteriorated in recent weeks due to his treatment in prison, lack of adequate access to medical care, and his hunger strike in protest of his continued confinement and mistreatment. He is now into his second month on hunger strike. According to one of his lawyers, Shirin Ebadi (the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate), Ganji’s condition is extremely dire.

Akbar Ganji is an honorary member of the Canadian, English, and Lichtenstein PEN Centers. He is a recipient of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression 2000 International Press Freedom Award.


The International Society for Iranian Studies-Committee for Academic & Intellectual Freedom (ISIS-CAIF)
PEN Canada
English PEN
Shirin Ebadi (2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, Iran)
Jody Williams (1997 Nobel Peace Laureate, United States)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984 Nobel Peace Laureate, South Africa)
Mairead Corrigan Maguire (1976 Nobel Peace Laureate, Northern Ireland)
Betty Williams (1976 Nobel Peace Laureate, Northern Ireland)
Mehrangiz Kar (Radcliff College, Harvard University, US)
Noam Chomsky (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US)
Leszek Kolakowski (All Souls College, University of Oxford, UK)
Sabba Ebtekar (freelance journalist, Canada)
Jalil Roshandel (Duke University, US)
Slavoj Žižek (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Ariel Dorfman (Duke University, US)
Asef Bayat (Leiden University, Netherlands)
Shahrnoush Parsipour (author, US)
Behrooz Ghamari (Georgia State University, US)
Ellen Carol DuBois (University of California, Los Angeles, US)
Bahriddin Aliev (Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan)
Richard Rorty (Stanford University, US)
Stephen Kinzer (Author, All the Shah's Men, US)
Marcus Raskin (Co-founder and Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies, US)
Judith Caesar (The American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Haleh Afshar (York University, UK)
Valentine M. Moghadam (Unesco, Paris, France)
Nancy Fraser (New School for Social Research, US)
Farideh Farhi (University of Hawai'i at Manoa, US)
Misagh Parsa (Dartmouth College, US)
Ziba Mir-Hosseini (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Germany)
Richard Tapper (Emeritus Professor, University of London, UK)
Babak Tavoosi (University of Toronto, Canada)
Kazem Alamdari (California State University, Los Angeles, US)
Nader Hashemi (University of Toronto, Canada)
Matt Rothschild (Editor, The Progressive, US)
Goudarz Eghtedari (Portland State University, US)
Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago, US)
Adina Back (New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy, US)
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im (Emory University School of Law, Sudan/US)
Charles Taylor (McGill University, Canada)
Poopak Taati (Media for Thought, US)
Chris Toensing (Editor, Middle East Research and Information Project, US)
Jonathan Rosenbaum (Author & film critic, Chicago Reader, US)
Fred Dallmayr (University of Notre Dame, US)
Hussein Ibish (Vice-chair, Progressive Muslim Union of North America, US)
Nariman Gasimoglu (Islamic scholar, Khazar University, Republic of Azerbaijan)
Joanne Landy (Co-director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, US)
Dusan Velickovic (Editor and publisher, Biblioteka Alexandria, Serbia & Montenegro)
Doug Ireland (L.A. Weekly, US)
Seyla Benhabib (Yale University, US)
Michael Kazin (Georgetown University, US)
Scott McLemee (Intellectual affairs columnist, InsideHigherEd.com, US)
Partow Nooriala (poet and author, US)
Azadeh Kian-Thiébaut (University of Paris, France)
Ezzat Goushegir (DePaul University & playwright and author, US)
Mansoor Farhang (Bennington College, US)
Fatemeh Moghadam (Hofstra University, US)
Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University, US)
Mahasti Afshar (California, US)
Houchang E. Chehabi (Boston University, US)
Mahin Khatami (molecular/cellular biologist, Georgetown University, US)
Abdolreza Eshghi (Bentley College, Boston, US)
Ann Elizabeth Mayer (University of Pennsylvania, US)
Danny Postel (openDemocracy.net, US)
Nayereh Tohidi (California State University, Northridge, US)
Nancy Gallagher (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
Golpira Eshghi (Bentley College, Boston, US)
Elizabeth Say (Dean of College of Humanities, California State Univ., Northridge, US)
Linda A. Moody (Dean of Academic Affairs, Antioch University, Los Angeles, US)
S.A. Samadani (president, American Global University, US)
Majid Tehranian (director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, US)
Niloofar Farnoodi-Zahiri (Stanford University & Santa Monica College, US)
Ali Akbar Mahdi (Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, US)
Nehzat Farnoodi (clinical psychologist, California, US)
Mehrdad Mashayekhi (Georgetown University, US)
Mohamad Tavakoli (University of Toronto, Canada)
Mehrdad Darvishpour (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Jane Bayes (Director, Institute of Gender, Globalization and Democracy, California State University, Northridge, US)
Howard Zinn (historian and social activist, US)
Nikki Keddie (University of California, Los Angeles, US)
Scott Sherman (contributing writer, The Nation, US)
Jillian T. Henderson (University of California, San Francisco, US)
Taghi Mokhtar (editor, The Iranian, Washington, D.C., US)
Mohamad Navab (University of California, Los Angeles, US)
Arash Naraghi (University of California, Santa Barbara, US)
Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak (University of Maryland, US)
Babak Bazargan (senior engineer, Caltrans, US)
Sherna Gluck (California State University, Long Beach, US)
Sohrab Akhavan (freelance journalist, US)
Roya Hakakian (author, US)
Christina L. Lolachi (University of California, Irvine, US)
Haleh Moshiri (University of California, Irvine, US)
Mehdi Khanbaba-Tehrani (journalist, Germany)
Sholeh Shahbaz (Rahavard, US)
Sally Charnow (Hofstra University, US)
John L. Esposito (Georgetown University, US)
Thomas Keenan (Human Rights Project, Bard College, US)
Kavita Philip (associate professor, California, US)
Nader Entessar (Spring Hill College, US)
Hooshang Amirahmadi (Rutgers University, US)
Mehdi Amineh (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Ali Banuazizi (Boston College, US)
Ahmad Sadri (Lake Forest University, US)
Djamchid Assadi (American University of Paris, France)
Houshang Ardavan (University of Cambridge, UK)
Elham Gheytanchi (Santa Monica College, US)
Kamran Arjomand (University of Halle, Germany)
Hamid Zangeneh (Widener University, US)
John Lloyd (editor, Financial Times Magazine, UK)
Richard Davis (Ohio State University, US)
Juan RI Cole (University of Michigan, US)
Azam Niroomand-Rad (Georgetown University, US)
Richard T Peterson (Michigan State University, US)
William O Beeman (Brown University, US)
Azar Nafisi (Johns Hopkins University, US)
Joshua Cohen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Boston Review, US)
Anthony Barnett (Editor-in-Chief, openDemocracy.net, UK)
Isabel Hilton (Editor, openDemocracy.net, UK)
Todd Gitlin (Columbia University, US)
Jonathan Rée (Royal College of Art & Roehampton University, UK)
Richard J Bernstein (New School for Social Research, US)
Michael Bérubé (Pennsylvania State University, US)
Vinay Lal (University of California, Los Angeles, US)
Kaveh Ehsani (Editorial board member, Middle East Report, US, & Goft-o-Gu, Iran)
Norma Claire Moruzzi (University of Illinois at Chicago, US)
Ahmed Nassef (Editor-in-Chief, muslimwakeup.com, US)
Mansour Bonakdarian (Hofstra University, US)
Jim Ledbetter (Senior Editor, Time Europe, UK)
Thomas Cushman (Editor, The Journal of Human Rights, US)
Lennard J. Davis (University of Illinois at Chicago & Director of Project Biocultures, US)
Michael Walzer (Inst. for Advanced Study, Princeton & editor, Dissent magazine, US)
Omid Payrow Shabani (University Of Guelph, Canada)
Kim Hewitt (Empire State College, US)
Maziar Behrooz (San Francisco State University, US)
Martin Shaw (University of Sussex, UK)
Tzvetan Todorov (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France)
Charles W Mills (University of Illinois at Chicago, US)
Michael Ignatieff (Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University, US)
Suketu Mehta (Author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, US)
Katha Pollitt (Writer, The Nation, US)
Wai Chee Dimock (Yale University, US)

Please address all queries and correspondence to: ISIS-CAIF@hofstra.edu

A Persian translation of the above letter can be found here

For other relevant links and petitions regarding Akbar Ganji, see:
PetitionOnline (open letter to Kofi Annan):   www.petitiononline.com/un1321/
Release Ganji! campaign:   www.releaseganji.net/hostednews.php
AkbarGanji.net (in Persian):   www.akbarganji.net
Persian Students in the UK:   www.persianstudents.org/archives

This article is published by openDemocracy, and appeared originally on openDemocracy.net under a Creative Commons licence. To view the original article, please click here.


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Opdateret d. 3.10.2005