Iranian dissident freed after 6 years in jail

Iran's most senior dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, was freed after spending six years behind bars, his lawyer said Saturday. Ganji was jailed in 2000 after reporting on murders of five dissidents by Intelligence Ministry agents and became a hero to the country's reformists for standing up to hard-line clerics. "Ganji was freed late Friday after spending about six years in jail," his lawyer Yousef Mowlaei told The Associated Press. Ganji was convicted on charges that the articles he wrote violated the law and insulted the authorities. He spent most of his jail term in solitary confinement and was on hunger strike for months. Many world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, called for Ganji's release because of his deteriorating health, but Iran's hard-line authorities had rejected such demands.