New York, NY, July 24, 2006—PEN welcomed Akbar Ganji, one of Iran’s most prominent champions of human rights and freedom of expression, to New York City today to discuss writing, free expression, and recent developments in Iran.

Ganji is the author of the best-selling book Dungeon of Ghosts, a collection of newspaper articles he published in 1999 that implicated former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other leading conservative figures in the “serial murders” of five writers and intellectuals in 1998. Ganji was one of several prominent Iranian cultural figures arrested after participating in a conference entitled “Iran after the Elections” in Berlin in April 2000. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. That sentence was reduced on appeal, but in 2001, he was sentenced to another six years in prison on charges of collecting confidential information that harms national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic system for his reporting on the serial murders. He was named an Honorary Member of PEN American Center in 2001, and PEN was part of the worldwide campaign for his release.

This was Akbar Ganji’s first trip abroad since he was freed in March of this year.


Listen to Ganji’s talk

>> Akbar Ganji: “Money Can’t Buy Us Democracy” in The New York Times

Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105,