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Iranian dissident ends hunger strike: wife - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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TEHRAN (AFP) -Dissident journalist Akbar Ganji, Iran”s most prominent political prisoner, has ended a lengthy hunger strike and is in &#34fair&#34 health, his wife confirmed to AFP.

&#34I saw him last night. He has ended his hunger strike. He is fairly well,&#34 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 &#34his general condition is better now that he is cooperating with his physicians.&#34

But last week Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi also charged that Ganji”s hunger strike was mere &#34play-acting&#34. &#34One day, he eats and then for several days he refuses to do so,&#34 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.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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