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Tehran's final insult to Kazemi?

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Joined: 19 Jul 2003
Posts: 235
Location: Plano, TX

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:23 pm    Post subject: Tehran's final insult to Kazemi? Reply with quote

Not surprising, it appears that Ahmadinejad is assembling a cabinet consisting of goons and thugs ...

Star Article

Tehran's final insult to Kazemi?
The man linked to murder of Canadian journalist is touted as Iran's
new minister of justice


Two years ago, Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was murdered while reporting in Iran. Today, the prime suspect in her case is not only free, but is being considered as Iran's next minister of justice in president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet.

Two weeks ago, the Iranian Labour News Agency reported that Ahmadinejad, who takes over formally in August, intends to nominate Saeed Mortazavi as Iran's next minister of justice.

Aside from his role in jailing and shutting down hundreds of journalists and pro-reform newspapers during his tenure as judge for the media court, Mortazavi, as Tehran prosecutor-general, was deeply involved in Kazemi's murder, if not responsible entirely for her death.

In 2003, Kazemi was detained under Mortazavi's authority for allegedly photographing a demonstration outside Iran's Evin prison.

Kazemi was later placed in solitary confinement where she was tortured at the hands of judicial officials, including Mortazavi.

It was during that time, as Iranian journalist Ali Nourizadeh reported, that Mortazavi attempted to make Kazemi sign a statement admitting she was a spy. He then began beating her when she refused.

The French newspaper Libération reported that it was Mortazavi, in fact, who was responsible for delivering the fatal kick to Kazemi's head.

According to recent evidence by Dr. Shahram Azam, a former staff physician in Iran's defence ministry who examined Kazemi, there was sufficient evidence to also prove that she had also been brutally raped.

Under the direction of Mortazavi, Iranian authorities initially declared that Kazemi died as a result of a stroke, despite the fact that Azam's examination revealed Kazemi had been flogged on the legs, there were scratches on her back and her skull was fractured. In addition her nose, fingers and toes were broken.

It was only until parliament launched a commission to investigate the matter that Mortazavi's statement was officially discredited.

Among other things, the parliamentary report stated that Mortazavi had tried to cover up Kazemi's murder by forcing witnesses to change their testimony.

Since then, the reformist parliament that had conducted the report has been replaced by one dominated by hard-line politicians and Mortazavi has yet to be grilled about his involvement in Kazemi's murder.

Additionally, only one person, Mohammed Reza Aghdam-Ahmadi, has been charged in connection with Kazemi's death. But at the end of July, Aghdam-Ahmadi was acquitted of all charges.

To date, Canadian officials have done little to pressure Iran into establishing an independent inquiry and even less to push for the inclusion of Canadian investigators.

Both Iranian and Canadian officials cite international conventions and sovereignty as impediments to mutual co-operation in solving the Kazemi murder. But the significant involvement of key figures in the Tehran government to the murder demonstrates that more aggressive diplomatic measures must be taken for a final, transparent, and just solution to emerge.

In particular, the possible appointment as minister of justice of Mortazavi, whose involvement in Kazemi's death has yet to be completely revealed, could cripple the possibility of accountability or reconciliation on this issue.

As justice minister, Mortazavi would have even greater oversight over judicial affairs. The minister of justice is responsible for all courts throughout Iran. That includes the power to supervise the appointment of judges.

Mortazavi's appointment and his involvement in the Kazemi case would require Canada to take a hard-line stance against Tehran — something it has so far appeared reluctant to do.

It is important for the Canadian government, specifically Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew, to recognize that the appointment of Mortazavi is not simply an Iranian concern, but a Canadian one as well. Besides the Kazemi affair, scores of Canadian journalists and many more Iranian-Canadians visit Iran every month.

Unless Ottawa takes a harder line against the Iran authorities, more Canadian citizens are at risk of becoming victims of Mortazavi.
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