Family skeptical of probe into Canadian journalist's death
Rob Peters | November 27, 2007 at 11:04 amby
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This is an important case worth following. The lack of transparency is disconcerting.
Iran's Supreme Court has ordered a new investigation into the 2003 death of an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist while in custody, a judiciary spokesman said Tuesday, but the family's lawyer has responded to the news with skepticism.
Zahra Kazemi, 54, died in Iranian custody on July, 11, 2003, nearly three weeks after she was arrested for taking photographs outside the country's notorious Evin prison in Tehran during student protests.
Kazemi's family lawyer said the family is "very skeptical" about news of another investigation into the Montreal-based freelance journalist's death.
"Our past experience with the Iranian justice system has left us profoundly disappointed and we really question whether anything fair can come out of that process," said lawyer John Terry.
Lawyers for Kazemi's family had requested an investigation into her death, arguing there were irregularities in the initial investigation and that the death was homicide, not an accident as originally ruled.
A presidential inquiry had found that Kazemi died from a fractured skull resulting from a "physical attack."
But in 2005, an Iranian court investigated the case and ruled she died from a fall after her blood pressure dropped during a hunger strike. The judges subsequently acquitted the sole accused in the case, an intelligence officer.
"Judges at the Supreme Court have objected to the [Iranian] court investigating the case, saying it was not competent to investigate the case," judiciary spokesperson Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters Tuesday.
The Canadian government had rejected the 2005 Iranian court decision in part because Iran had not allowed Canadian observers at the otherwise open trial.
Iran has also rejected Ottawa's requests for Kazemi's body to be returned to Canada.