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.

Zahra Kazemi was arrested on June 23 for taking pictures outside an Iranian prison during student protests. She died of head injuries after being interrogated by intelligence officials.

Mohammed Reza Aghadam Ahmadi, 42, an agent with the reformist-controlled Intelligence Ministry, has been charged with "semi-premeditated murder" in Kazemi's death.

His trial opened in October but has been delayed for about five days on Ebadi's request because she needs more time to study the case.

Ebadi's decision to represent the Kazemi family was welcome news for Reporters Without Borders, but the son of the slain photojournalist said Ebadi can represent his grandmother but not him since he doesn't recognize Iranian justice.

The Kazemi case created a diplomatic schism between Iran and Canada.

Ottawa threatened sanctions and withdrew its ambassador after Kazemi's body was buried in Iran against the wishes of both Ottawa and Kazemi's son.