Iran says Canadian-Iranian committed suicide in jail; more arrests expected

Reuters  | Feb 11, 2018 10:00

Iran says Canadian-Iranian committed suicide in jail; more arrests expected

By Parisa Hafezi

ANKARA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - 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.

Kavous Seyed-Emami's son on Saturday wrote on Twitter that his father, arrested on Jan. 24, had died in prison. Environmental activist Seyed-Emami, 63, a dual national, was a sociology professor at Iran's Imam Sadegh University.

"The news of my father's passing is impossible to fathom," son Raam Emami wrote. "I still can't believe this." The family has asked for an independent autopsy, he said.

Seyed-Emami was the managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect Iran's rare animals, and a U.S.-trained scholar in sociology.

"He was one of the defendants in a spying case and unfortunately he committed suicide in prison since he knew that many had made confessions against him and because of his own confessions," Tehran's prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi told the semi-official ILNA news agency.

On Saturday, Jafari-Dolatabadi said Iran's security forces had arrested several people who had been "gathering classified information in strategic areas ... under the coverage of scientific and environmental projects".

Authorities on Friday called Seyed-Emami's wife to say her husband had committed suicide in Tehran's Evin prison, his son tweeted.

COLLEAGUES ARRESTED

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a non-profit group based in New York, said at least nine other staff members and executives of Seyed-Emami's organisation had been arrested on the same day as him, citing a relative of one of those detained.

They include an Iranian-American dual national, Morad Tahbaz, CHRI said. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the United States was "aware of reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in Iran".

Separately, Iran's judiciary has announced in recent weeks the suicides of two Iranians among those arrested during nationwide anti-government protests last month.

Their families, rights groups and lawyers have rejected the explanations of their deaths and demanded an independent investigation.

An Iranian official in Tehran said more arrests were expected in connection with Seyed-Emami's organization.

"A group of those who gathered strategic intelligence and handed it over to foreigners have been identified. Some of them were arrested and some others might be arrested soon," the head of Tehran's Justice department Gholamhossein Esmaili told ILNA.

In 2003, an Iranian-Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, was beaten to death in Evin prison after she was detained while taking pictures. Her death led to a downgrading in diplomatic relations between Iran and Canada.

There is currently no Canadian embassy in Iran, which does not recognise dual nationality. A spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, which manages Canadian foreign and trade relations, said on Saturday the government was aware of reports of the death of a Canadian citizen in Iran.

Dozens of dual nationals are in jail in Iran, mostly on spying charges. (Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Andrew Roche)

Thank you for trying AMP!

You got lucky! We have no ad to show to you!

Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

Sign out
Are you sure you want to sign out?
NoYes
CancelYes
Saving Changes