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Zahra Kazemi's Mother calls for fresh probe into death of journalist

Tehran, April 10, IRNA-The mother of Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi has called on the Judiciary to launch fresh investigation into circumstances which led to her daughter's death in June 2003, her lawyers announced Sunday.

In a petition to the Judiciary, the lawyers of Ezzat Ebrahimi have asked the Judiciary to designate a 'special interrogator to reveal the truth' behind the death of her daughter.

"According to the law, the file must be referred to a special interrogator who acts outside the authority of the Tehran Justice Department... in order to pave the way for revealing the truth and punishing the masterminds (of the death)," they have said in a part of their petition.

In their petition, the lawyers including Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi have claimed that the court of the first order and the appeals court are not qualified to handle the case.

They also accused the court of ignoring evidence presented by the lawyers about the death of Kazemi as well as reports of the special presidential committee and the Information (Intelligence) Ministry in this regard.

The 54-year-old journalist died in 2003 because of fractured skull.

An ad hoc committee, formed on President Mohammad Khatami's order, said that Kazemi died after her skull was fractured either 'because a hard object hit her head or her head hit a hard object'.

The journalist, working for Canadian Camera Press journal, was arrested in June 2003 while illegally taking pictures of Evin prison in Tehran.

Several days later, she was pronounced dead.

Her death triggered a spat between the Iranian and Canadian governments after Tehran rejected Ottawa's demand that her body be transferred to Canada.

Ottawa recalled its ambassador to Tehran, followed by Iran summoning Canadian charge d'affaires, in connection with the death of an Iranian national which was blamed on Canadian police.

The death came as the Canadian police attacked three Iranian nationals in Vancouver, killing Keyvan Tabesh and injuring Amir Aqaie.

The attack was met by a news blackout in Canada.

On Sunday, Iran chided Canada Sunday for adopting a 'wrong approach' toward the death of the journalist, blaming the country for complicating the matter.

"The Canadians have been following a wrong approach from the outset and adding to the complications of this matter," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in his weekly news briefing.

Ottawa has called for an independent investigation into Kazemi's death, demanding that her remains be handed over to Canada and a post-mortem carried out.

Rejecting the demand, Asefi said, "The Canadians must know that Zahra Kazemi is an Iranian, whose case is a state affair and it is the Judiciary which has to answer their (Canadians') demands." The demands have followed allegations by a shady figure identified as Shahram Azam, described as a former Iranian military doctor, who has recounted signs of alleged torture on the body of Kazemi.

Azam, who has defected to Canada, has alleged that Kazemi was unconscious when she was taken into hospital in Tehran and had injuries consistent with torture.

Iran has strongly rejected the allegations, denouncing them as 'baseless and completely false'. Hospital staff have also lined up to deny Shahram Azam ever worked in their unit.

... Payvand News - 4/11/05 ... --

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