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Journalist, Akbar Ganji in solitary confinement: paper

TEHRAN, Iran, May 6, 2000(AFP) - A pro-reform Iranian journalist jailed for articles linking former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to the murders of several dissidents is in solitary confinement and not allowed to see his lawyer, his wife charged in Saturday's press.

Akbar Ganji went to prison last month saying he would rather be in jail if it meant revealing the truth about what he said was Iran's corrupt judiciary, and now "not even his lawyer knows where he is," the Hammihan daily quoted her as saying.

She said she had only spoken to him briefly since his April 22 detention, and that he had indicated he was unable to call further because phone calls were not allowed in solitary confinement.

She added that his lawyer asked the judge for permission to visit his client but was told that Ganji is not allowed any visitors.

Another paper said late last month that Ganji had been transferred to a section of Tehran's Evin prison normally set aside for drug addicts and dealers.

Ganji was imprisoned just ahead of a sweeping crackdown on the pro-reform press by the conservative courts, which shut down almost every newspaper behind President Mohammad Khatami.

His articles linking Rafsanjani to the 1998 killings, which were blamed on rogue intelligence agents, appeared in the run-up to the first round of February's parliamentary elections, in which the former president was a candidate.

It remains unclear if Rafsanjani, who was running with the endorsement of moderates and conservatives, won a seat in the legislature as an unprecedented third recount of ballot boxes in Tehran is underway.