Date of arrest: 22 April 2000
Sentence: 6 years’ imprisonment.
Expires: 21 April 2006
Details of arrest: Arrested following his participation in an academic and cultural conference held in Berlin on 7-9 April 2000 entitled “Iran after the elections”, at which political and social reform in Iran were publicly debated.
Details of trial: Trial started on 9 November 2000 at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. On 13 January 2001 he was sentenced by Bench 3 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court to ten years’ imprisonment plus five years’ internal exile, four years for his attendance at the conference and six years for other charges, including “spreading propaganda against the Islamic regime”, for a series of articles he had written implicating leading figures in the murders of several dissidents and intellectuals in the mid-late 90’s. On 15 May 2001 an appeal court reduced his 10-year sentence to six months and overturned his additional sentence of five years internal exile. However, although he had served the entire sentence, the Tehran judiciary challenged the appeal court decision and brought new charges against him in connection with newspaper articles he wrote prior to April 2000. Sentenced on 16 July 2001 to six years’ imprisonment on charges of collecting confidential information harmful to national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic system. On 15 October 2003 he was reported to have appeared before an examining magistrate to answer questions about his book Prison-like Archipelago. There are said to be several cases pending against Ganji for articles he has written, including charges of ‘propaganda against the regime’ and publishing lies, insult and libel.
Professional details: Author of the best-selling book Dungeon of Ghosts, a collection of Ganji’s newspaper articles published in early 2000, in which he implicated the former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and other leading conservative figures in the “serial murders” of 1998. The book is said to have seriously damaged the reputation of Rafsanjani, and is thought to have been a major factor in the conservative defeat in the parliamentary elections of February 2000.
Other information: Recipient of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) 2000 International Press Freedom Award. Also awarded the 2006 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers.
Honorary member of: Canadian, American, Liechenstein and English PEN Centres
Released: 17 March 2006
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/writersinexile/akbarganji/