TEHRAN (AFP) -Dissident journalist Akbar Ganji, Iran”s most prominent political prisoner, has ended a lengthy hunger strike and is in "fair" health, his wife confirmed to AFP.
"I saw him last night. He has ended his hunger strike. He is fairly well," Massoumeh Shafii said in a brief statement.
The 46-year-old was sentenced to six years in prison in 2001 after he wrote articles implicating several regime officials in the murders of opposition intellectuals and writers.
He began refusing food on June 11 to protest the conditions of his detention and in a bid to secure his unconditional release. The judiciary insisted last week that the strike had ended, but no independent confirmation was available given that family members and lawyers were barred from visiting him.
On Friday UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a letter asking Iran”s new President Mahmood Ahmadinejad to free Ganji for humanitarian reasons.
The state news agency IRNA reported Saturday that Ganji was out of intensive care after ending his hunger strike. Cyrus Tabesh, a spokesman at Milad hospital, to which Ganji had been moved from prison, said the writer had been moved to a general ward and that "his general condition is better now that he is cooperating with his physicians."
But last week Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi also charged that Ganji”s hunger strike was mere "play-acting". "One day, he eats and then for several days he refuses to do so," Mortazavi said.
The judiciary also raided the Ganji family home earlier this month after letters bearing the dissident”s signature were posted on the Internet.