Iranian journalist accuses "Killers"
By Justin Huggler
The Independent (London)
December 1, 2000
AKBAR GANJI, Iran's hugely popular investigative journalist, publicly
named for the first time yesterday the senior figures he accuses of being
behind a series of murders secretly ordered by the state in 1998. Photo here
Mr Ganji's sensational allegations came from the dock. He is on trial
for "endangering state security" for attending a conference in
Berlin on President Mohammad Khatami's reform movement.
Mr Ganji's investigations into state-sponsored killings have made him
a hero in Iran and a leading reformer. His books, including The Dungeon
of Ghosts, which details his investigations into the killings, dominate
Iran's bestseller lists.
Yesterday he named three figures he accuses of being behind five killings
in 1998. In November that year, a dissident couple were found stabbed to
death in their home. In the next month, three more intellectuals were murdered.
The first name Mr Ganji gave yesterday - the former intelligence minister
Ali Fallahian - has been linked to the murders but never publicly accused
in Iran. The second name - Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi - has never been linked
to the killings before. Ayatollah Yazdi, a leading hardliner, is one of
the most hated men in Iran.
Mr Ganji accused Mr Fallahian of directly ordering the killings but
only charged Ayatollah Yazdi with indirectly sanctioning them. "Mesbah
(Yazdi) said everybody who insulted sanctities must be killed without trial,"
Mr Ganji told the court.
The third man named was Tehran's deputy chief justice, Gholamhossein
Mohavi Ejei, whom he linked to one killing.
Mr Ganji denies the charges against him and says he is being punished
for exposing the state's role in the killings.