Zahra Kazemi

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Zahra Kazemi

"Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in Iranian custody on July 11, 2003, almost three weeks after she was arrested for taking pictures outside a prison during a student protest in Tehran.

"Two days later, Iran's official news agency reported that Kazemi had died in hospital, after suffering a stroke while she was being interrogated. On July 16, 2003, the story changed. Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Iran's vice-president, conceded that Kazemi died as a result of being beaten.

"Later, the Iranian government would charge an Iranian security agent in Kazemi's death. He was acquitted of a charge of "quasi-intentional murder. In July 2004, Iran's judiciary said the head injuries that killed Kazemi were the result of an "accident."

"The case stayed under the radar screens of most Canadians until March 31, 2005, and the stunning revelations of Shahram Azam, a former staff physician in Iran's Defence Ministry. He said he examined Kazemi in hospital, four days after her arrest." [1]

In 2003 "Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has formally asked to represent the family of a Canadian photojournalist who died while in Iranian police custody." [2]

In August 2003 Reporters Without Borders "denounced the lack of openness in the official enquiry into the death of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi and warned that it was falling victim to the power struggle between the Iranian regime’s reformists and hardliners." [3]

In 2004 Reporters Without Borders-Canada received a grant from Rights & Democracy to support their "work preparing the defence for the Zahra Kazemi case, the Canadian photo journalist who was beaten to death by Iranian officials. The project's aim was to promote public interest in this case in order to encourage the Canadian government to put pressure on the Iranian government so that justice can be served. Rights & Democracy contributed primarily to organizing discussions between Foreign Affairs and relevant organizations preparing a public awareness event and sending a human rights observer mission to attend the Zahra Kazemi trial in Iran." [4]

"John Terri, the Canadian attorney who represented Zahra Kazemi’s case has ardently called on the Canadian government to follow up Jahanbegloo’s case with Tehran through diplomatic channels." [5]

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Related Sourcewatch


  1. Iran's changing story, CBC, accessed August 22, 2007.
  2. [Nobel Peace Prize winner advocate for Kazemi family], CBC, accessed August 22, 2007.
  3. Vagueness and infighting obstructs Kazemi murder probe, Reporters Without Borders, accessed August 22, 2007.
  4. Democracy Projects Database, NED, accessed August 22, 2007.
  5. Jahanbegloo Charged with “Espionage” for Researching in US, Regime Change Iran, accessed August 22, 2007.