Iran News ...


7/17/03

Canadian FM discusses death of Iranian journalist with Kharrazi

Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham held telephone talks with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi on Wednesday over the death of an Iranian photojournalist, who worked for Canada's Camera Press magazine, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Graham praised Iranian President Mohammad Khatami for taking measures, aimed at bringing the cause of the death to light and hoped that the results of the probe would be announced in the earliest, as demanded by Kazemi's relatives in Canada.

Kharrazi stressed that "the Islamic Republic of Iran is sensitive and committed to the fate of its nationals" and assured that officials "will act very seriously and firmly" in establishing the cause of the death as soon as possible.

He, however, said that "every body has to wait so that the real cause of Mrs. Kazemi's death is clarified".

Earlier in the day, Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh rejected Canada's request to transfer the journalist's body to that country, saying "Mrs. Kazemi is an Iranian citizen and in this case we will act according to the will of her family".

"In our view, no foreign government has the right to make any special comment in this regard, given the Iranian nationality of Mrs. Kazemi," he told reporters.

Ramezanzadeh, however, pledged that the government would hand over probable culprits in the death case to the Judiciary, which he said, has to deal with them.

"If it is proved that an offense has been committed, the violators must be confronted and this is the government's demand," he said.

Vice President for legal affairs, Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, also announced the results of an autopsy, ordered by the government, concluding that Kazemi had died "of a brain hemorrhage as a result of a blow".

"The committee, which has been formed on the order of President (Mohammad Khatami), is following up the matter to see how and where this happened," he told reporters after a cabinet session.

Ministry of Culture had said that the journalist was arrested last month while illegally taking pictures from Evin prison in Tehran and whisked away to Information (Intelligence) Ministry, where he felt unwell and was taken to hospital.

Several days later, she was pronounced dead from brain stroke on July 11, the head of the ministry's foreign media office, Mohammad-Hossein Khoshvaqt said.

It was then that President Khatami ordered Iran's four ministries of intelligence, interior, culture and justice to form a special committee and bring the cause of the death to light.

On Tuesday, the ad hoc committee ruled against plans to bury Kazemi's body and stopped it until investigations into the cause of the death were final.

An informed source told IRNA Tuesday, that the committee had rejected a request from Zahra Kazemi's mother to transfer the body from the coroner's office to her birthplace in Shiraz for interring.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also said that the committee has categorically rejected the burial as long as the cause of the journalist's death is not established.

The announcement came as some news agencies and websites alleged that Kazemi had been buried in Shiraz after the coroner's office had issued a death certificate.

... Payvand News - 7/17/03 ... --



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