Iranian scholar and environmental activist dies in prison

Howard TerryFeb 12, 2018

The Center for Human Rights in Iran, which is based in NY, said Seyed Emami's death "stems from the widespread impunity of judicial and security officials who are getting away with murder, time after time".

Iran does not recognize dual nationality and treats those arrested as Iranian citizens.

Prison authorities insist that three prisoners who died after they were arrested during nationwide street protests in December also committed suicide, although many Iranians have challenged those conclusions.

Activists say there have been other suspicious deaths among detainees that have been labelled as suicide. The family has asked for an independent autopsy, he said.

Canada's foreign office said it was aware of the reports of Emami's death.

"The news of my father's passing is impossible to fathom", Ramin Seyed-Emami, an Iranian musician also known as King Raam, tweeted on February 10, 2018.

Kavous Seyed-Emami's son on Saturday wrote on Twitter that his father, arrested on January 24, had died in prison. "I still can't believe this", Ramin, a well-known singer, said.

His son said he did not believe he had taken his own life.

The Liberal government has said it wants to restore diplomatic relations, even after Iran arrested retired Canadian-Iranian professor Homa Hoodfar, who was after months in Evin prison.

The Tehran Prosecutor General, Abba Jafari Dolotabadi, has said members of the group were arrested for gathering classified intelligence in strategic areas under the guise of scientific and environmental work.

Seyed-Emami, a USA -trained scholar, had been managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect Iran's rare animals.

Analysts and family members of dual nationals and others detained in Iran have suggested that hard-liners in the Islamic Republic's security agencies use the prisoners as bargaining chips for money or influence.

In 2003, an Iranian-Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, was beaten to death in Evin prison after she was detained while taking pictures. Her case remains unsolved despite calls for justice by lawyers and Canadian officials.

They include an Iranian-American dual national, Morad Tahbaz, CHRI said.

Iran's judiciary said on Sunday an Iranian-Canadian activist had committed suicide in detention because of the weight of evidence against him in a spying case, an Iranian news agency reported. His body was delivered to his family on January 9.

Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father Baquer, a former UNICEF representative who served as governor of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province under the USA -backed shah, are both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges.

Human rights groups outside the country have accused Iranian authorities of systematic abuses in prisons.

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