A former Iranian prosecutor linked to the 2003 imprisonment, sexual assault and death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi has been detained in the same prison where she died.
Saeed Mortazavi was taken to Tehran's Evin prison late Monday, according to reports from Iranian state media.
Kazemi was born in Iran but later became a Canadian citizen, living in Montreal. She was 54 years old when she died in Iranian custody on July 11, 2003, almost three weeks after she was arrested for taking photographs outside a prison during a student protest in Tehran.
Iranian authorities reported Kazemi's death as accidental, but the attending physician, who fled Iran, reported Kazemi showed signs of torture, severe beating, head trauma and rape before her death.
Mortazavi was the prosecutor who sent Kazemi to the prison. He was named in a $17-million lawsuit by Kazemi's family for his role in her imprisonment, sexual assault and beating death. However, the case was dismissed by the Quebec Superior Court and, subsequently, the Quebec Court of Appeal.
Mortazavi was suspended from his role as Tehran city prosecutor after an Iranian parliamentary probe found him responsible for the 2009 deaths of three anti-government protesters at the city's Kahrizak prison. While no other action was taken against Mortazavi, the country's judiciary has said the 2009 deaths will be re-investigated in March.
During his time in the prosecution service, Mortazavi was reported to have earned the nickname "Butcher of the Press" for his role in the detention and abuse of journalists, bloggers and other dissenters.
Links to president
He was in charge of Iran's country's social security fund at the time of his arrest Monday.
Mortazavi is said to be closely linked to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his arrest appears to be tied to Iranian political infighting between the president and some of his rivals.
The arrest came a day after Ahmadinejad aired a video of the Iranian parliamentary Speaker's brother allegedly seeking a bribe from Mortazavi in return for the Speaker's support of the president. The Speaker, Ali Larijani, denied any ties to the video.
Ahmadinejad slammed the arrest of Mortazavi, saying the country's judiciary was a "family institution," referring to the fact that another of the Speaker's brothers is the judiciary chief.