Akbar Ganji

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Akbar Ganji, "the celebrated Iranian journalist and dissident who spent six years in prison for exposing rights abuses committed by Iran’s Fundamentalist regime, is the winner of Rights & Democracy’s 2007 John Humphrey Freedom Award.

"Mr. Ganji’s fearless commitment to human rights, democratic development and non-violence is an inspiration and source of hope to his fellow Iranians. A journalist by trade, Mr. Ganji’s work has appeared in pro-democracy newspapers across Iran, most of which the government has since shut down. He has also written 10 books, including the bestselling The Dungeon of Ghosts (1999) and The Red Eminence and The Grey Eminence (2000)." [1]

"Ganji was arrested on April 22, 2000, following his participation in an academic and cultural conference held at the Heinrich Böll Institute in Berlin on April 7-9 entitled "Iran after the elections," at which political and social reform in Iran were publicly debated. He was sentenced on January 13, 2001, to 10 years' imprisonment plus five years' internal exile. He was reportedly detained incommunicado for 80 days, and allegedly tortured in detention. It is also reported that Ganji staged a hunger strike to protest his treatment in prison." [2]

"Six other participants at the Berlin conference have also been sentenced to prison terms as follows: Saeed Sadr, 10 years; Khalil Rostamkhani, nine years; Ezzatollah Sahabi, four years (see UA 182/00 AI Index: 13/27/00); Ali Afshari, five years; Mehrangiz Kar (f), four years and Shahla Lahiji (f), four years (see UA 103/00 AI Index: MDE 13/34/00)." [3]

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  1. Iranian writer and dissident Akbar Ganji wins Rights & Democracy's 2007 John Humphrey Freedom Award, Rights & Democracy, accessed August 10, 2007.
  2. Akbar Ganji, Pen American Center, accessed August 10, 2007.
  3. Iran: Further information on torture/ill-treatment/prisoner of conscience - Akbar Ganji, Amnesty International, accessed October 3, 2007.
  4. Past Award Winners, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, accessed August 10, 2007.
  5. Winners of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, accessed August 14, 2007.