Akbar Ganji

Awarded $500,000 Milton Friedman Liberty Prize

cato.org: Akbar Ganji, an Iranian writer and journalist who spent 6 years in a Tehran prison for advocating a secular democracy and exposing government involvement in the assassination of individuals who opposed Iran's theocratic regime, has been named the 2010 winner of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.

Ganji may be best known for a 1999 series of articles investigating the Chain Murders of Iran, which left five dissident intellectuals dead. Later published in the book, The Dungeon of Ghosts, his articles tied the killings to senior clerics and other officials in the Iran government, including former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The Dungeon of Ghosts became a national bestseller and is believed to have helped bring about electoral defeats for conservative candidates in the parliamentary elections of 2000. Upon returning from a conference in Berlin shortly after the elections, Ganji was arrested for spreading propaganda against the Islamic system and "damaging national security." He was eventually sentenced to six years in prison, much of it spent in solitary confinement.

"Akbar Ganji endured immense suffering fighting for the cause of liberty in Iran," said Edward H. Crane, president of the Cato Institute. "Considering what he went through, no one would have blamed him for giving up, but he continued to think and write about ways to make Iran a better place for his people, risking his personal freedom and safety with every word." >>>


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این دست خود حضرت عباس است


سه سال پیش از یکی از یاران وفادار رژیم  در باره آقای  اکبر گنجی و فرار ایشان از چنگال جمهوری اسلامی  سوال کردم ... جواب جالبی داد ؛

" شما تنها در سه مورد از زندان اوین به خارج از ایران راه پیدا میکنید؛

۱- یا  یک ریگی به کفش تون هست ( مامورهستید و معزور)
۲- یا پشت شما به کوه احد هست ( یکی ، از یک جایی، از اون بالا بالاها, هواتون رو داره)
۳- یا دست حضرت عباس پشت شماست!!! 


Shifteh, you set a very low bar for a hero

by oktaby on

and Ganji is no hero or leader. He certainly give not direction to the movement from where I sit. I'm not even talking about his bloody hands and role in the IR extremism and so on. He is a crook in my opinion. No more and no less.

abgosht, if his past is any indicator, he will take it. And find 50 ways to explain it with typical islamist twisted logic. And write a few articles about it too.



FR: I had no idea. Thanks

by vildemose on

FR: I had no idea. Thanks for the info.


The test for ganji is if he returns the award.

by abgosht on

Milton Friedman and his Chicago School of Economics model are responsible for the coup in Chile that brought about General Pinochet.  To implement his economic policies scores of people were tortured and executed in Chile, Argentina, Brazil.  The notion of "freedom" for likes of Milton Friedman is freedom of corporation to do as they wish.  Not rights of individuals.   

You need to watch this to find out who Milton Friedman was and what he represents.


Ganji has had a very troubling history.   From the beginning of the revoloutin to today. Last year Ganji was advocating boycott of the Iranian election.  Reality shows that participation in the last election was the most important factor in mobilizing the Iranian.  Ganji was dead wrong on it.

The Milton Friedman award is a test for Ganji.  Does he want to keep the company of people who advocate in favor of military coup to achieve his economic policies?    If so Ganji's ideology, AFAIC, is worst than that of Ahmadinejad.

Farah Rusta

Can we trust a plaigiarist?

by Farah Rusta on

The story of Ganji's stealing the fruits of other people's research, in this case that of Mashallah Ajoudani, the renowned historian, is well recorded and a matter of fact (see the investigative article written by Ahmad Afradi which is quoted on many sites including Ajoudani's - link at the end of this comment). Revelations were enough to cause Abbas Milani, once a promoter of Ganji, to have his ties severed with him on the basis of Ganji's unethical and dishonest behavior.


But the question that should be asked is if a man who, wants to be believed as an honest activist, is prepared to steal other people's intellectual property and have it published under his own name, is safe to have the trust of a nation?




Well-deserved. I'm happy

by vildemose on

Well-deserved. I'm happy for him. Hope he enjoys it in good health.

Shifteh Ansari


by Shifteh Ansari on

I believe achieving democracy for any nation is a hard, long, and arduous road.  Brave men and women create the cobblestones of that road through their deeds and their works, albeit significant for only a short period of time in that nation's history.  For what he did and how he paid for it and for the period of time when this occurred, Akbar Ganji did plenty to bring national and worldwide attention to the situation of human rights in Iran.

Do you believe that the millions of young men and women who are now coming to Iranian streets at every chance to demand their rights had an epiphany about democracy in June of 2009?  In fact the makings of the democracy-seeking movement of Iran go back hundreds of years and what we see today is a comprehensive collage of men and women who took part in moving the nation forward.

I don't believe Iran has one or two major heros the names of whom we all know.  I think Iran has had and continues to have thousands of heroes and heroenes who have given it chunks or all of their lives to bring it the understanding and and the will to move forward in search for freedom.

I am not terribly interested in what Akbar Ganji is doing today or what he did before he was arrested and imprisoned for speaking his mind.  He and others like him gave direction and meaning to the movement we see on the Iranian streets today, for without the first people who spoke up and showed others that it could be done, there would be no movement today.  The road will continue and it will claim many more lives in the process, but the destination is clear and the resolve to reach it has never been stronger than today.


Well deserved and good luck to him.

by Bavafa on


Red Wine


by Red Wine on

This true iranian was Pasdar ?!


How people have quickly forgotten...

by AryamehrNYC on

...that this man has the blood of many Iranians on his hands from 1979 to when he somehow magically "fell out of favor" with the mullahs...

I guess Rudolph Hess would be considered a saint as well despite all of the German blood he had on his hands...

Once a thug always a thug no matter what uniform he tries to put on...


Dear Shifteh, if you like Ganji that is fine but to suggest

by oktaby on

"he has done more for Iran..." is a rather strong statement. He has done what for Iran? there are hundreds of hunger strikers right now who barely get recognition he got and have fought immensely more than he ever could or would, and they have no support or prizes from highly suspect and questionable institutions or a massive PR behind them. Nor do they get a convenient pass to DC and payment for writing papers and speeches that belong to the early 18th century. As rest of 'former regime' agents and still islamists it is funny how they all end up in U.S. not in a moslem nation. His past is rather colorful and his future is quite bright with money he has got and continues to get, despite the misery in Iran. Who/what group/cause has he specifically helped?

Promoting another religious point of view and coloring it with 'quasi secular' concepts hardly qualifies him as anything but another opportunist with ambitions for which he is sleeping with anyone who will support and pay his way. I know you mean well but thousands of Iranian youth did not get beaten, raped and killed for anything he promotes.



Shifteh Jan

by minadadvar on

I agree with you 100%.  Ganji is a true Iranian hero/ human right activitist. He is an inspiration.  I wish him best of luck.

We need more people like him.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

What the hell is the CATO institute involved with Iran for?

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

They are a libertarian think tank. They have no business discussing Iran. How sad for them. They want to be another American Enterprise Institute? What's wrong? Defense contractors not sending enough checks? 

Raytheon is probably excited about Iran on CATO's mind. There are billions to be made from a US regime intervention and war by Israel or US. Get ready! 


Can't fool us

by Ferfereh on

No matter how many prizes they give him, they still can't fool us. They wanna keep this regime but with little changes. They don't wanna a regime that is best for Iran and iranians, thus they winnow and  find some to do the job, like Khomeini, Ganji, .... and make them heroes and give them prizes. This is not 1979 and nobody buys your heroes anymore.


Milton Friedman?

by ghalam-doon on

And did he accept it?

Just imagine giving this prize to someone who has even one iota of left leaning thinking. Do you think he would even consider for a moment to accept it, even though it's a cool half mil? Do you think if they had offered this prize to someone like Noam Chomsky, he wouldn't have died laughing? 

It seems Mr. Ganji and most of these so-called leaders of the opposition in exile belong to the wind party.

By accepting this prize, Mr. Ganji endorses the right wing agenda of economists like Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman was the brain behind the economic policies of Ronald Reagan, what was known as Reaganomics. He extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with little or no intervention by government.

Is this the vision that Mr. Ganji has for Iran? A pure and simple capitalist society with no intervention from the government?

Mr. Ganji has some explaining to do.


Darius Kadivar

Congrats to Mr. Ganji !

by Darius Kadivar on

Good for Him !

Below Articles Written During his Courageous Hunger Strike Predicament:

Prisoner of Conscience: Akbar Ganji and Costa Gavras' Confession BY Darius KADIVAR  (PersianMirror)

Prisoners Of Conscience : Akbar Ganji A Hero Similar To Yves Montand Portrayal In Costa Gavras' Film The Confession by DK (payvand)

Shifteh Ansari

Akbar Ganji

by Shifteh Ansari on

Akbar Ganji has already done more for Iran than many people can do in their entire lifetime.  He has paid with his dear life for the right to speak his mind.  If from now until the day he dies he does nothing else, he is still miles ahead from all those who take the courage of the likes of him for granted. 


آفرین به آقای گنجی.


پس از این همه مشقّت که این مرد در زندان کشید، این جایزه
کمکی‌ هست برای پیشبرد اهداف آقای گنجی و افکارش. اهداف و افکاری که در پی‌
آزادی اندیشه و آزادی بیان برای تمامی‌ ایرانیان هست.


Hooray for neocons

by robertborden54 on

Cato Institute? Milton Friedman?  I guess they're cool as long as they're willing to give you half a mil. 



by yolanda on

Thank you for sharing and good for him and for democracy! I look forward to his acceptance speech and reactions from IRI!

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

این آقا این همه پول می‌ارزد ؟