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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Iran dissident 'cannot see wife'
By Pam O'Toole
BBC News

Massoumeh Shafeih, Akbar Ganji's wife
Mr Ganji's wife has regularly visited her husband in a secure ward
The wife of Iran's best-known political prisoner, journalist Akbar Ganji, says officials will not let her visit her husband, 49 days into a hunger strike.

Massoumeh Shafeih says she will not be allowed access until she stops giving interviews to the foreign media.

Mrs Ganji said she received the message when she called the hospital where he is held to arrange her next visit.

Mr Ganji was jailed five years ago for linking senior Iranian officials to the murders of prominent intellectuals.

His hunger strike is aimed at achieving his unconditional release.

During her last visit, on Thursday night, Mrs Ganji said her husband looked as though he may only live for a few more days.


Since Mr Ganji started his hunger strike, his wife has been foreign reporters' main source of news about his condition.

Akbar Ganji

Although most Iranians know about his fast, Iran's official media has stayed largely silent.

The hardline judiciary insists that he is not on hunger strike, saying has been hospitalised for treatment on a knee injury, and is in good condition.

But Mrs Ganji maintains that during her last visit, late on Thursday night, Tehran's chief prosecutor was present at Mr Ganji's bedside and told her that doctors did not expect her husband to last the night.

She said Mr Ganji - who has lost more than 25kg in weight - looked as though he may only live a few days.

Mrs Ganji said she later tried to persuade her husband to take food, or at least to agree to be fed serum through an intravenous drip, but he refused.

She said he then tried to get out of bed, walked a few steps and collapsed unconscious.

At that point, she said, she authorised the hospital to give him serum via a drip, which it did.

Mrs Ganji said that when she called the hospital on Friday to arrange her next visit, she was told that she could not see him again while she continued giving interviews to the foreign media.

She has vowed to continue with the interviews.

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