Skip to comments.Tehran to brief Ottawa on Kazemi's death [mullahs accuse patsies, but the prosecutor did it!]
Posted on 08/27/2003 9:01:20 AM PDT by Stultis
|Michael Friscolanti, with files from Tom Blackwell|
CREDIT: CanWest News Service
Iranian officials are expected to brief the Canadian government this morning about major developments in the case of Zahra Kazemi, including details about the two women ordered to stand trial for beating the Montreal photojournalist to death.
The meeting, scheduled to occur at the Canadian embassy in Tehran, comes one day after Iran insisted it had "no duty" to keep Canada abreast of the continuing murder investigation.
It also comes as more details slowly emerge about the two women charged with the "semi-intentional murder" of Ms. Kazemi, whose mysterious death has not only strained relations between Iran and Canada, but has exposed a growing rift between the Islamic country's hardline judiciary and elected reformers.
The rift grew even larger yesterday, as Iran's reformist-controlled Intelligence Ministry vehemently denied that two of its employees were responsible for Ms. Kazemi's death.
On Monday, the prosecutor's office in Tehran announced it had charged two intelligence agents. The office did not name the accused, but human rights organizations have been told that both women were present during the initial interrogation that followed Ms. Kazemi's arrest on June 23.
Some reports have described the accused as medical workers -- one a nurse; the other a personal caregiver -- while others insist they were security agents.
But the Intelligence Ministry -- all but accusing the judiciary of a cover-up -- insisted that its office is innocent of any crime. A spokesman even threatened to reveal what really happened to Ms. Kazemi unless the charges are dropped.
"The government considers the Intelligence Ministry clean and clear of any charges," said Abdollah Ramezanzadeh. "This should be rectified. Otherwise we will announce all we know in defence of the prestige of the government and what we know as facts."
Ms. Kazemi, an Iranian ex-patriot and Canadian citizen, died on July 10, nearly three weeks after a 77-hour interrogation left her in a coma and attached to a life-support machine. She had been photographing student-led protests outside a Tehran jail when she was arrested. Authorities accused her of espionage.
Iranian officials initially denied any responsibility for her death, insisting that she suffered a stroke. Officials later confirmed that Ms. Kazemi was likely killed.
Observers suspect that the two women now accused of the murder, who were among five people arrested earlier this month, are being used as scapegoats to protect senior officials and show the world that someone is being punished for the murder.
"It's not to say that [the women] are not guilty," said Aryo Pirouznia of the Dallas-based Student Movement Co-ordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, a group dedicated to replacing the current Islamic regime. "These people are all tools of repression in Iran. But if you ask if they were involved in the death of Kazemi, for sure they were not. This is a masquerade."
Mr. Pirouznia's organization has reason to believe Ala Bakhshi and Jafar Nemati, two high-ranking officers with the intelligence unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, participated in the beating. It is believed they assisted Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran's chief prosecutor, who is reported to have personally delivered the final blows that ultimately killed the freelance photographer.
Sources have told Mr. Pirouznia that the two accused women had been ordered to leave the interrogation room long before the fatal beating took place.
Marlys Edwardh, a Toronto lawyer representing Ms. Kazemi's only son, Stephan Hachemi, also said she fears the two accused women are being blamed for something they did not do.
"If we have a handy-dandy little confession that is the basis of this, they are just two more victims," she said yesterday.
Canadian consular officials in Iran hope to learn more about the arrests this morning. A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, who confirmed today's meeting, said although the current tug-of-war between Iran's factions has complicated the case, the federal government expects the country to honour its promise of an open and transparent investigation.
Meantime, Mr. Hachemi continues to grieve the loss of his mother. BloWup, a Montreal art gallery, yesterday opened an exhibit of his mother's photography, much of which chronicled the lives of the poor living in the Middle East.
Part of the proceeds of the exhibit will go to Mr. Hachemi, who is still fighting to have his mother's body, which was buried in Iran against his will, returned to Canada.
From SMCCDI: daneshjoo.org
Kazemi affair leads to row between regime's institutions
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 26, 2003
The International and Canadian pressures on the Islamic republic regime in reference to the murder of the Canadian-Iranian journalist have created an unprecedented row between the theocratic regime's institutions. The row seems to have been boosted by the publication, by the New York Sun, of an article quoting the "Int.' l Lawyers" investigation team envoy and SMCCDI on some facts related to Kazemi's death.
Rape and the injection of a special substance which increases the decomposition of the body were mentionned by the two sources speaking to Adam Daifallah of the New York Sun. The article was mentionned by most abroad based Iranian radio and TV networks broadcasting for Iran.
Same statements were made to the National Post of Canada which published, yesterday, an article written by Tom Blackwell on the affair.
Many of the regime's officials have started, in the last 72 hours, to take distance from those involved in the scandal and the regime's Information Ministry on Monday night branded the communique issued on Monday by the PR office of the General and Revolutionary Court on Zahra Kazemi`s death, as "Sheer lies."
Deputy Information Minister "Shafie" who spoke to the regime's official news agency, IRNA, stated: "Claims made by the prosecutor of Bench 1 of Tehran`s Criminal Court, in which two of the information ministry`s interrogators are accused of `being accomplices` in the `quasi intentional murder` of Ms Kazemi are sheer lies."
He further emphasized, "The Information Ministry has discovered the truth of the matter on the case related to the death of Zahra Kazemi, and is intended to publish it for public information in very near future."
The regime's Intelligence Ministry denied, yesterday evening, any involvment of his staff in Kazemi's death.
It's to note that the Islamic judiciary guided by the offices of the regime's Supreme Leader intends to save "Jafar Nemati", "Ala-Bakhshi" and "Saeed Mortazavi". The latters are members of the regime judiciary and the Intelligence unit of the Pasdaran Corp. which are related to the offices of the Supreme Ledaer.
Scapegoats have been pressured to make false confessions about their responsibility in the rape-murder affair.
Kazemi is not the first female raped by the Islamic regime's affiliates. It's a well known fact that thousands of young female marxist opponents of the regime were systematically raped by Islamic militiamen the night before their executions and following the reading of a Koran verset on "Temporary Marriage".
The forced ritual was enforced as according to Islamic texts a "Virgin girl has her place in paradise".
© Copyright 2003 SMCCDI: daneshjoo.org
Telling the world what really happend would be a nice change.
The chief Iranian prosecutor gets to beat people to death? I'm surprised the leftist loonies here haven't accused Ashcroft of wanting to do likewise.
The federal government and Lawyers without Borders are looking into allegations that Iranian interrogators raped a Montreal photo-journalist before killing her, then pumped chemicals into her body to speed decomposition.
Both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the human rights group say they have asked Iranian authorities investigating Zahra Kazemi's death to try to verify the latest claims.
Hamid Mojtahedi, a Toronto lawyer who is in Iran on behalf of the rights group, stressed the reports are completely uncorroborated at this point.
"Some sources advised us that this might have been the case and we are trying to substantiate it," he told the National Post yesterday in an interview from Tehran.
"We had a meeting with the prosecutor-general of Tehran, who has basically seized the case for some time.... He promised to co-operate with us and advise us if any such thing did happen."
A Texas-based Iranian opposition group went further yesterday, claiming it has received convincing reports from sources in the country's intelligence community that the photographer was raped and chemicals used to more quickly erase the evidence.
But Mr. Mojtahedi said Lawyers Without Borders is anxious to maintain its neutrality on the issue. To overplay the reports now "may very well muddy the water, it may very well hinder any investigation the authorities may want to carry out," he said.
"Based on what we have been told at this stage, we should really consider them to be rumours."
Mr. Mojtahedi is in Iran partly to try to get official recognition for his organization to observe future trials, including those of anyone charged in Ms. Kazemi's death.
France Bureau, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Affairs Department, said Canadian authorities are aware of the rape accusations and have also asked local officials to investigate.
"We're looking at it, but we haven't received any corroborating information from Iranian authorities," she said.
The embassy in Tehran has asked for an official briefing on the status of the whole Kazemi investigation, Ms. Bureau added.
Ms. Kazemi, 54, an Iranian ex-patriot based in Montreal, died on July 10, three weeks after authorities arrested her. She had been photographing student-led protests outside a jail in the Islamic republic.
Iranian officials initially denied there had been any wrongdoing, but later confirmed she died as a result of being struck on the head by her captors. A judicial inquiry led to the arrest of five Intelligence Ministry agents, two of whom were released on bail this month.
Canada pulled its ambassador from Tehran after Ms. Kazemi was buried in her birthplace, the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, against the wishes of Canadian authorities and her son, who lives in Montreal.
Aryo Pirouznia of the Dallas-based Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran said intelligence sources told his group Ms. Kazemi had been raped after she slapped one of her interrogators, who had hit her.
Mr. Pirouznia's group is dedicated to replacing the current Islamic regime of Iran with a secular, democratic government.
He said the officers had already forced Ms. Kazemi to say she had been part of the counter-revolutionary movement in Iran, and were trying to get her to confess to working for U.S. intelligence.
Officials later decided to inject her body with chemicals that would decompose the remains faster, making it more difficult to perform a post-mortem, he charged.
The committee had actually heard the report more than two weeks ago, but did not go public to avoid being accused of fabricating the story to embarrass Iranian hardliners, he said.
The group only posted a report on its Web site after Mr. Mojtahedi was quoted about the case on an Iranian-language radio station.
"It is so big, it is so horrible that we didn't want to put it up," said Mr. Pirouznia.
|Two women charged in Kazemi case ^
|Posted by knighthawk
On 08/26/2003 12:05 PM CDT with 3 comments
National Post ^ | August 26 2003 | Michael Friscolanti
Tehran arrests two health care workers for 'semi-intentional murder' of Canadian Two Iranians working for the country's Intelligence Ministry have been arrested and charged with the "semi-intentional murder" of Zahra Kazemi, the Montreal photojournalist who was beaten to death in a Tehran jail. The two accused were reported yesterday to be low-level medical workers, both female. The unidentified pair -- one is a nurse, the other a personal caregiver -- were allegedly among the group that interrogated Ms. Kazemi after she was arrested on June 23 for snapping pictures of a local prison. Iran's official news agency, reading a statement...