Who is Akbar Ganji?
Akbar Ganji is an Iranian journalist and writer. He has been described as "Iran’s preeminent political dissident", and a "wildly popular pro-democracy journalist" who has crossed press censorship "red lines" regularly. A supporter of the Islamic revolution as a youth, he became disenchanted in the mid-1990s and served time in Tehran's Evin Prison from 2001 to 2006 after publishing a series of stories on the murder of dissident authors known as the Chain Murders of Iran. While in prison he issued a manifesto which established him as the first "prominent dissident, believing Muslim and former revolutionary" to call for a replacement of Iran's theocratic system with "a democracy".
Having been named honorary citizen of many European cities and awarded distinctions for his writing and civil, Ganji has won several international awards for his work, including the World Association of Newspapers' Golden Pen of Freedom Award, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression's International Press Freedom Award, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, the Cato Institute Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty and the John Humphrey Freedom Award.