Laureate 2007: Akbar Ganji

Akbar Ganji

Akbar Ganji
was arrested in Tehran after he had participated in an Iran conference of Berlin’s Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in April 2000. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and five years expatriation because of "propaganda against theocracy, danger to the safety of the state and insult of the state leadership" because he had blamed the Iranian regime for the assassination of political opponents and intellectual dissidents in numerous articles.

Later on, this sentence was reduced to six years. However, Ganji was not silent. In a widely noticed piece of writing composed in prison, Ganji denounced the structures of the Islamic state and the violation of human rights. As a consequence his conditions in prison were tightened. He was tortured several times and went on hunger strike in protest. He resisted to take an oath of loyalty to the head of the state.

Ganji was discharged from prison 18 March, 2006.

- 2010 appointment to the "hero of the freedom of the press" by the International Press Institute in Vienna for "his courage in the struggle for justice and freedom of the press"