Tehran, Iran, Jul. 29 – The spokesman for Iran’s judiciary said today that the
head of the Islamic Republic’s Judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
would not grant hunger striking jailed journalist Akbar Ganji a pardon from
prison despite an appeal from ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Jamal Karimi-Rad told the state-run news agency ILNA that prisoners in Iran were subject to the rules of the
judiciary and that Ganji was no exception.
Ganji is currently on day 48 of a hunger strike in protest to his detention. He
has been in prison since 2001 for writing a book linking senior figures in Iran to killings of political
dissidents in the 1990s.
Karimi-Rad said that that for the judiciary to consider an amnesty Ganji had
to first of request such an action himself. Even then the Tehran Prosecutor’s
office would have to deliberate on the matter. “Has Ganji made such a
request? As far as I know, Ganji has not made such a request”, he added.
Questioned on whether Shahroudi would be willing to pardon Ganji, the
judiciary spokesman said that prison pardons coincided with national events
such as February 11, which marks the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic
Revolution. “At present there are no occasions to allow for this prisoner’s
release; therefore the only option that remains is for Ganji himself to
request conditional release”, he added.