[JURIST] Iranian officials released dissident journalist Akbar Ganji [Wikipedia profile; advocacy website] from jail late Friday evening. It is currently unclear whether Ganji will have to return to prison for a few more days. Though Ganji's lawyer said his sentence ended March 17, a senior judiciary figure said Ganji is currently on leave for only seven days to celebrate the Iranian New Year and his sentence officially ends March 30.
Ganji was jailed in 2000 and sentenced to six years in prison in 2001 for writings that linked powerful Iranian officials, including former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [Wikipedia profile; official website in Farsi], to the murders of opposition intellectuals and writers. In July, the White House issued a statement [press release] calling for Ganji's release, after he went on hunger strike in June to protest his confinement. Ganji ended the hunger strike [JURIST report] in August after he fell seriously ill. The UN and European Union also issued calls for Ganji's release. Reuters has more.