Iran UN rights expert calls for jailed journalists release

Akbar Ganji was sentenced to six years jail in 2000 after returning from a human rights conference in Berlin where he reportedly expressed views critical of the Iranian authorities and the country’s Supreme Leader. He was charged with “harming national security” and “spreading propaganda against the regime.” “I wish to express again my deepest concern regarding the situation of journalist and writer Akbar Ganji,” the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, said in a statement, noting that Mr. Ganji had been hospitalized earlier this year.He recalled that since Mr. Ganji’s arrest in 2000, various mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights had often appealed to the Iranian authorities to review his situation, as well as the situation of other intellectuals and journalists imprisoned for press and opinion-related offences.“I understand that, after a few weeks in a hospital under police surveillance, Mr. Ganji has been imprisoned again in spite of his poor health,” he said. “Therefore, I call on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to grant him an unconditional amnesty on humanitarian grounds and to release him without further delay.”