Reporters Without Borders expressed its concern to Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham and his 15 EU counterparts on 20 January over the stalled Zahra Kazemi case in which, it said, Iranian authorities appeared to be in no hurry to see justice done.
"Since the trial of the alleged killer was adjourned, there do not appear to have been any further developments in the case. The lawyers for the victim's family have not been allowed to look at the legal file so that they can properly prepare their case," said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders. "The authorities have not fixed any date for the adjourned hearing and we do not even know if the lawyers will have an opportunity to examine the complete file," he added.
The international press freedom organisation called on the foreign ministers to do all within their power to see that this case was thoroughly investigated and justice was done and to obtain the repatriation of Kazemi's body to Canada.
The journalist's body was buried in Shiraz in the south of the country on 22 July 2003, contrary to the wishes of her son, Stéphan Hashemi, a French-Canadian living permanently in Canada. As you know Zahra Kazemi's mother who lives in Iran, had asked for the body to be repatriated to Canada and had signed a request to that effect at the Canadian embassy in Teheran. The Canadian authorities moreover supported the request.
Despite this there was a hurried burial in Iran and since then, calls for the body to be exhumed and repatriated to Canada have fallen on deaf ears. The journalist's mother has said publicly that she had been put under pressure to allow the burial in Iran.
Reporters Without Borders appreciates Canada's initiative that led to a resolution in the UN General Assembly on 12 December 2003 condemning human rights violations that continue in Iran. In accordance with the European Parliament's invitation to the Council on 15 January 2004, our organisation strongly supports and encourages the European Union to present a similar draft resolution at the next session of the Human Rights Commission in particular to vigorously condemn unfair detention, which is still current practice in this country
The Iranian-Canadian journalist, who was living in Canada, was arrested on 23 June 2003 while photographing families of prisoners in front of Evin jail in the north of Teheran. She was beaten during her detention and died of her injuries on 10 July. After first trying to hide the cause of the journalist's death, the Iranian authorities recognised on 16 July 2003 that she had been "beaten".
Following a struggle between reformists and conservatives who mutually accused each other over the death of the journalist, an Iranian intelligence services agent, Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, was named as the suspected killer and arrested. His trial was adjourned on 4 November 2003. Lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize has said that she will defend the interests of Kazemi's family.
... Payvand News - 1/21/04 ... --