Iranian Parliament Issues Stinging Kazemi Report
October 28, 2003
The Associated Press
The Globe and Mail
Tehran Iran's reformist-dominated parliament on Tuesday implicated hardline Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi in the death of a Canadian photojournalist who died in custody last July.
Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian of Iranian origin, died July 10, about three weeks after being detained for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison during protests. An intelligence agent is charged with her alleged beating death.
The parliament criticized Mr. Mortazavi for accusing Ms. Kazemi of spying for foreign intelligence agencies, lacking official permission to work and announcing the cause of her death as stroke. A presidential-appointed committee later concluded she died of head injuries sustained while in custody.
The detention of Kazemi ... was not justified ... and against legal procedures, the parliament said in its report on the murder, read out in an open session and broadcast live on state-run Tehran radio.
The parliament condemned Mr. Mortazavi for failing to respond to several questions justifying Ms. Kazemi's detention and refusing to attend parliamentary sessions to offer explanations.
The parliamentary report is expected to further complicate the investigation into Ms. Kazemi's death and affect the course of ongoing trial of an Intelligence Ministry agent.
The report also paves the way for the questioning and even possible trial of Mr. Mortazavi over the murder.
Intelligence Ministry agent Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi pleaded not guilty to Ms. Kazemi's murder on the first day of his open trial earlier this month.
Intelligence Ministry officials have denied their agents were responsible, claiming a judicial official assaulted Ms. Kazemi.
Canada has complained to Iran over the handling of Ms. Kazemi's case. It threatened sanctions and withdrew its ambassador after the her body was buried in Iran against the wishes of her son, who lives in Montreal, and Canadian authorities. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031028.wkaze1028/BNStory/National/
"The parliament condemned Mr. Mortazavi for failing to respond to several questions justifying Ms. Kazemi's detention and refusing to attend parliamentary sessions to offer explanations."
"The report also paves the way for the questioning and even possible trial of Mr. Mortazavi over the murder."
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