NewsSpecial WireIran rejects reports on jailed dissident as "propaganda"

Iran rejects reports on jailed dissident as “propaganda”

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jul. 19 – Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel on Monday rejected “propagandist reports” on the failing conditions of Akbar Ganji, a dissident journalist currently on day 39 of a hunger strike hoping to gain his freedom from a six-year prison sentence which he is currently serving in Evin Prison. Haddad Adel told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar in the Iranian capital that Ganji’s case was “unlikely to turn into a plight and reach the point that satellite networks and Mr. Bush are talking about”. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 19 – Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel on Monday rejected “propagandist reports” on the failing conditions of Akbar Ganji, a dissident journalist currently on day 39 of a hunger strike hoping to gain his freedom from a six-year prison sentence which he is currently serving in Evin Prison.

Haddad Adel told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar in the Iranian capital that Ganji’s case was “unlikely to turn into a plight and reach the point that satellite networks and Mr. Bush are talking about”.

Last week, United States President George W. Bush called for Ganji’s unconditional release.

“The propaganda going on around [Ganji’s”> conditions was far from reality”, Adel said, adding that the U.S. President ought to react instead to “crimes committed by American troops in Abu Ghraib prison as well as in Iraq and in Afghanistan”.

The remarks by the ultra-conservative Majlis Speaker, whose daughter is married to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s son, appeared to be part of the clerical authorities’ offensive to defuse growing concern over Ganji’s health.

The state-run news agency, ILNA, quoted the director of Milad Hospital in Tehran, where Ganji is currently receiving care, as saying that the journalist “began eating in hospital and his condition is by no means critical”.

The state-funded daily Quds reported today that Tehran’s Prosecutor-General Saeed Mortazavi had denied that Ganji was on hunger strike.

“Akbar Ganji is regularly consuming nutritious food and proteins, and according to the physicians, his general health is completely on form”, Mortazavi told the state-run Fars news agency.

“He will be returned to prison after the treatment”, he said.

“The actions of certain newspapers to create controversy over this case are for the purposes of putting pressure and part of a psychological warfare”, Mortazavi, who has been implicated in the prison murder of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in July 2003, added.

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