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Iran: Shirin Ebadi tells Appeals Court Zahra Kazemi's death was "deliberate murder"

Tehran, July 25, IRNA-Appeals Court presided over by judge Alizadeh held a session on Monday in the presence of defendant security officer M.A. and his lawyer, representative of the prosecutor and four lawyers on behalf of Zahra Kazemi's family.

photo: ISNA

Zahra Kazemi, Iranian photojournalist living in Canada, died in custody in 2003. She had been arrested for taking photos from Evin prison.

Kazemi's family filed suit with Judiciary against prison officers and legal proceedings indicated that "either her head struck a hard material or the material struck her head".

The court clarified Kazemi's death as "semi-deliberate" murder two years ago.

The defendant who is a security officer said that she collapsed during interrogation and her head struck the ground, but, Kazemi's family alleged that she had been hit in the head.

photo: ISNA

Defense lawyer Shirin Ebadi told the court that the case of her client was "deliberate murder".

She cited report of the Coroner's Office that Kazemi's head had been struck twice and so it cannot be taken as semi-deliberate murder.

The judge said that the indictment has termed the case as semi-deliberate, therefore, the court rejects the new allegation.

Mrs. Ebadi said, "We have objection to the indictment and appealed to the verdict issued by the former court which lacked jurisdiction." She said that her client was murdered deliberately and the case should be referred to the prosecutor's office for re-examination.

Ebadi also appealed to the Judiciary chief to assign an impartial court and special inspector to probe the case.

The judge's advisor asked the defense lawyer to give evidence that Ms. Kazemi had been murdered deliberately.

She said that the hasty burial despite objection of the victim's family removed the evidence.

"Zahra Kazemi said before death that she had been subject to physical attack and her mother maintained that her body was bruised indicating she had been beaten up," the defense lawyer said.

Mohammad Seifzadeh, other lawyer of Kazemi's family, called for assigning a special inspector and independent judge.

He expressed disappointment with the current function of the appeals court.

Seifzadeh termed the early verdict issued in this respect as irrelevant.

He said that determining that Zahra Kazemi had been murdered deliberately is very easy for the court adding that Kazemi's family will seek help from international court if they lose hope in national justice system.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ebadi told reporters at the end of the court session that she was optimistic about outcome of the appeals court.

... Payvand News - 7/26/05 ... --

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