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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In North America and Europe, Right and Left Stand Behind Ganji

WashingtonPrism: Neoconservative news organizations, Republican senators, and U.S President George W. Bush often clash with liberal academics, international human rights groups, and the European Union. On one issue, however, there is growing unanimity: Akbar Ganji, an Iranian dissident journalist incarcerated since 2000, must be freed. A growing chorus of voices from both the right and the left in North America and Europe is speaking out on behalf of Mr. Ganji, whose hunger strike brought him near the brink of death. On July 14, President Bush called on the Iranian government to "release Mr. Ganji immediately and unconditionally and to allow him access to medical assistance." The White House statement signed by President Bush also called on "all supporters of human rights and freedom, and the United Nations, to take up Ganji’s case and the overall human rights situation in Iran." Bush, who often expresses rhetorical support for Iranian dissidents in general, rarely mentions any by name. The European Union, in an unusually strongly worded statement, also called on the Iranian authorities to free Mr. Ganji immediately on humanitarian grounds. Several European Parliament members have also demanded Ganji's unconditional release. European ambassadors in Tehran have reportedly expressed their displeasure with Ganji’s continued detention.

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