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CAJ calls on government to demand inquiry of journalist's death

OTTAWA, July 17 /CNW/ - Those who murdered Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in an Iranian detention centre must be brought to justice, says the Canadian Association of Journalists.

"We always suspected that she had been killed," CAJ president Paul Schneidereit said on Thursday. "With the admission of the Iranian government on Wednesday that she died of injuries sustained from being beaten in custody, we call on the Canadian government to demand an independent inquiry into her murder."

Iran should also release Kazemi's body, so it can be returned to her son in Canada, he said.

Kazemi, 54, an Iranian-Canadian with dual citizenship, was arrested June 23 for taking photographs of a protest outside a prison north of Tehran. Three days later, she was taken to hospital with severe head injuries. Until Wednesday, Iran had claimed she had suffered a stroke.

"The senseless, barbaric beating death of Ms. Kazemi, for merely doing her job as a journalist, is a sickening, unconscionable crime," said Schneidereit.

The CAJ is Canada's largest professional organization for journalists, with about 1,300 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide advocacy and professional development for its members, and public-interest advocacy.

For further information: CONTACT: Paul Schneidereit, President, CAJ: (902) 426-1124; John Dickins, Executive Director, CAJ: (613) 526-8061, Cell phone (613) 290-2903

... Payvand News - 7/18/03 ... --

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