Sign up for weekly updates

Four years after journalist Zahra Kazemi's death, her lawyers expect a new trial

(RSF/IFEX) - On 10 July 2007, Reporters Without Borders said it hoped Iran's supreme court will rule in favour of a new investigation into the death of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi from a beating while in custody four years ago. After hearing an appeal from the Kazemi family's lawyers on 2 July about the irregularities in an appeal court's verdict, the supreme court is supposed to issue a decision this week.

The press freedom organisation has written to the Canadian authorities urging them to continue to condemn the denial of justice in this case.

"We see this appeal as the last hope for shedding light on the circumstances of Kazemi's murder," the press freedom organisation said. "We support her lawyer's request for a new investigation to be conducted in an independent and impartial manner, covering all that took place from the time of her arrest until her death."

Reporters Without Borders added: "The case has been hampered by many obstacles, including the apparent implication of senior officials. The participation of international experts would help to resolve some of these difficulties and to put an end to a situation of impunity that has gone on for too long."

The Kazemi family's lawyers sought to demonstrate the "intentional" nature of Kazemi's death in the 2 July hearing before the supreme court's 15th chamber. If the court accepts their argument, it should order a new investigation.

Kazemi, 54, was arrested on 23 June 2003 while taking photos of the relatives of detainees outside Evin prison, in north Tehran. She died on 10 July 2003 from cerebral bleeding that was the result of blows to the head received while in detention.

The prison authorities initially claimed that her death was the result of an accidental fall. After they subsequently acknowledged that she was beaten during interrogation, prosecutors named Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, an intelligence official, as the personal responsible for her death. A court acquitted Ahmadi in July 2004 and his acquittal was confirmed in November 2005 by an appeal court, which said the investigation should be reopened.

Latest Tweet:

The United Arab Emirates in 2018 handed down draconian prison sentences to an Emirati activist (@Ahmed_Mansoor) an…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.