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Iran: Defendant in Kazemi's trial acquitted, blood money to be paid out from public funds

Tehran, July 24, IRNA -- The court in charge of trying the murder case of Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian photojournalist who resided in Canada, acquitted here Saturday the defendant, the information ministry's employee Mohammad Reza Ahmadi-Aqdam.

A source in Tehran Justice Department told IRNA that given the acquittal, the blood money will be paid out from the public funds.

The Islamic law stipulates that blood money for a Moslem woman is the state's responsibility if the perpetrators of the crime are not identified, the source said.

The source said that initially some of the accused in the case were released after questioning due to lack of evidence and it was determined that only one individual - Ahmadi Aghdam - had to stand trail. He was subsequently acquitted due to insufficient proof.

The source further added that the verdict is contestable and can be appealed in a higher court.

The case was tried in public in the presence of reporters and Kazemi's four attorneys at the Branch 1059 of Tehran Criminal Court.

Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian freelance photojournalist with a Canadian passport, was first arrested in June 2003 while illegally taking pictures from Tehran's Evin Prison. She was taken to the Information Ministry after her arrest where she later complained of being unwell and was taken to hospital. She died on July 10, 2003 in hospital of brain hemorrhage caused by a blow to her head.

Her case was first referred to the Tehran Criminal Court for investigation after the Tehran public and revolutionary as well as military courts refused to handle it on the ground it was outside their jurisdiction.

The first hearing on the case was held by the criminal court on October 2, 2003.

... Payvand News - 7/25/04 ... --

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