Iran: deaths in prison, an academic and environmentalist iranian-canadian

News 11 February, 2018
  • AFP


    Sunday, February 11, 2018 08:43

    Sunday, February 11, 2018 08:47

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    An academic and environmentalist iranian-canadian has died in prison less than a month after his arrest, plunging the academic community in Iran in shock Sunday.

    Kavous Seyed Emami, 63 years old, director of the Foundation for wildlife Persian, which works to protect endangered species in Iran, had been arrested with seven of his colleagues on the 24th January. His death was announced by his family and on the social networks late on Saturday.

    “The news of his death is impossible to admit,” responded his son Ramin Seyed Emami, a musician known, in his account Instagram.

    He said that the police had informed his mother of the death Friday, saying he had “committed suicide”. “I do not believe in this version”, he added.

    The iranian Association of sociology, of which Emami was an active member, has published on Sunday a press release questioning the motives of a suicide.

    “The published information on him is unlikely, we expect of the officials that they explain and provide information to the public on his death,” he wrote.

    A source close to the foundation said that the other seven members arrested were still in prison. Among them is Morad Tahbaz, a businessman, an iranian-american. This last is from a rich family who made a fortune before the islamic revolution of 1979 and who was the owner of the newspaper Kayhan, controlled today by the authorities.

    The prosecutor of Tehran, Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, confirmed the death of the university. “Unfortunately he committed suicide in prison,” he said to the agency Ilna.

    He announced Saturday that several people related to the field of the environment had been detained as suspected of espionage.

    “They were collecting classified information in strategic places (…) under the guise of scientific projects and environmental,”-he said to the press agency of the judicial Authority Mizan.

    Series of “suicides”

    The death of Emami comes after reports of at least two “suicides” in prison, related to the unrest that hit several dozens of iranian towns and cities at the end of December-beginning of January.

    According to the mp, Mahmoud Sadeghi, a demonstrator 23-year-old, Sina Ghanbari, died in Evin prison in Tehran, while the justice spoke of the suicide of a drug dealer.

    Another man died after being arrested during demonstrations in Arak (center). Local officials have said that he had stabbed himself.

    The ecologist Emani had taught at the University of Imam Sadegh, many of whose leaders are out, such as the nuclear negotiator Said Jalili.

    “Everyone is shocked”, told AFP under cover of anonymity, an academic who was well acquainted with Emami.

    “He was one of the best teachers and loved Iran and the environment,” he said, adding that he had recently come from Canada, where he led research.

    His death “gave rise to a wave of questions and concerns,” tweeted Ali Shakourirad, leader of the party reformer Unit of the people.

    “The partial information and the waves of the prosecutor of Tehran have only increased these concerns. That is what is happening in this country?”, a-t-he writes.

    Emani is the second citizen of Iranian-canadian to die in iran’s prisons after the death in 2003 of the photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi.

    The vice-president of the time, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, had assured him that she had died “of a brain haemorrhage caused by beating.”

    His death had cast a pall over relations iranian-canadian for several years.

    Iran does not recognise dual nationality and therefore treats the detainees as iranians.