Canada renews call for Kazemi probe
Canada's foreign affairs minister is again calling for an investigation into the death of a Montreal photo-journalist in Iran, following news that the prosecutor in her case has been implicated in the deaths of three other detainees.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon also renewed Canada's six-year old demand that the body of photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi be repatriated from Iran.
His statement Monday came the day after an Iranian parliamentary investigation found former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was responsible in the deaths of three protesters imprisoned after last summer's disputed presidential elections.
Mortazavi is also named in the $17-million lawsuit by Kazemi's family for his role in her imprisonment, sexual assault and beating death in 2003. The Canadian government supports the lawsuit.
"Mr. Mortazavi has displayed his disregard for the respect of human rights on several occasions, including during the detention and murder of Canadian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi," Cannon said in a statement.
"Canada also continues to call upon Iran to conduct a credible investigation into the murder of Zahra Kazemi. The search for justice remains firmly on the agenda in Canada's relations with Iran."
Mortazavi known as 'Butcher of the Press'
Kazemi, 54, was born in Iran but later became a Canadian citizen, living in Montreal. She 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.
In Iran, Mortazavi has earned the nickname "Butcher of the Press" for his role in the detention and abuse of journalists, bloggers and other dissenters.
The Iranian committee's findings weren't binding, but the investigation into alleged abuses at the holding centre at Kahrizak was a rare chance for Iran's opposition forces to call into question the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government after post-election unrest.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the detention centre closed pending the investigation after military prosecutors said last month at least three detainees died due to torture.
Mortazavi and other government officials had previously blamed the deaths on an outbreak of meningitis.
The Iranian Students News Agency reported Sunday that the committee in particular criticized Mortazavi for his role in moving the detainees to Kahrizak, despite conditions known to be inhospitable.
With files from The Canadian Press