An Iranian judge has agreed to transfer prominent journalist Akbar Ganji from the cell block for common criminals to another block after his cellmate was murdered last week, a press report said Tuesday.
"With the agreement of press court judge Said Mortazavi, Ganji will soon be transferred to another cell block," the Aftabe-Yazd paper said.
Ganji, who was imprisoned after alleging top officials were involved in several 1998 political murders, has repeatedly requested to be moved out of the cell block for common criminals in Tehran's Evin prison, saying he did not feel safe. He has claimed he has been tortured while at Evin.
His cellmate, longtime criminal Ali Kakoui, bled to death after another inmate stabbed him with a broken bottle Thursday because of his loud singing at night, the reformist Doran-e Emrouz daily reported Saturday.
Ganji was jailed in April after linking the killings of several leading dissidents to former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as well as former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian.
Secular nationalist leader Dariush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh were found stabbed to death in their apartment in November 1998, followed within weeks by writers Majid Sharif, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh.
The three outspoken writers were well-known for their calls for greater freedom of expression in Islamic Iran, and the string of murders sparked widespread outrage and heightened political tension in the country.
Authorities in January 1999 announced that a network of "rogue" secret agents had carried out the murders but had done so without the knowledge of their superiors in the intelligence ministry.
The sixth hearing of the controversial trial of the defendants began at Tehran's military court Tuesday and is being held in camera for what the judiciary called "reasons of national security."
Ganji himself is also being tried by a revolutionary court along with other prominent reformists for his attendance at a conference in Berlin in April which was deemed anti-Islamic by Iran's conservative judiciary -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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