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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Iran death findings 'wrong'
A frame grab from Iranian TV shows Iranians carrying the coffin of Zahra Kazemi
Kazemi: Buried in Iran despite calls for body to be returned to Canada
The Iranian Government has rejected the findings of a judicial inquiry into the death in custody of journalist Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian national.

It emerged on Monday that the judge investigating the case had charged two officials from the intelligence ministry with "complicity in semi-intentional murder".

But a government spokesman on Tuesday cast doubt on the legitimacy of the inquiry, describing its findings as having nothing to do with reality.

The government considers the Intelligence Ministry clean and clear of any charges
Government spokesman
Abdollah Ramezanzadeh

The BBC's Miranda Eeles in Tehran says the investigation has revealed the bitter nature of the power struggle taking place between reformists under President Khatami and conservatives who dominate the judiciary.

The Intelligence Ministry had strenuously denied that its operatives were to blame for the Iranian-born photojournalist's death on 10 July.

Kazemi died from head injuries she sustained after being taken into custody more than two weeks earlier.

Many reformist MPs have accused senior judiciary officials of involvement in her death, which has also led to a diplomatic row between Iran and Canada.

'Real truth'

Spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said the government "considers the Intelligence Ministry clean and clear of any charges" and that the real truth would soon be exposed.

He said that in order to defend its reputation, the government was prepared to reveal all the details of the case.

Kazemi was arrested on 23 June outside a prison where she was taking photographs of protesters demanding the release of relatives locked up during anti-government protests.

Iranian officials said at first that Kazemi died of a stroke.

But after international outrage, investigations were ordered which eventually concluded that she died from a brain haemorrhage caused by a severe blow to the skull.

According to the French news agency AFP, before her admission to hospital four days after being taken into custody, the journalist spent :

  • 21 hours with prosecutors;

  • 26 hours with police;

  • Four more hours with prosecutors;

  • A final 26 hours being questioned at the intelligence ministry.

After Zahra Kazemi's death, Tehran refused repeated requests for her body to be returned to Canada.

She was buried on 23 July in the south-western city of Shiraz, with state media claiming that her mother - who lives in Iran - had given permission.

The same day, Canada announced it was recalling its ambassador from Tehran.


SEE ALSO:
Iran arrests five over Canada death
26 Jul 03  |  Middle East
Iran points to journalist 'murder'
30 Jul 03  |  Middle East
Canada accused of killing Iranian
24 Jul 03  |  Middle East
Canada recalls envoy in Iran row
23 Jul 03  |  Middle East
Canadian buried in Iran
23 Jul 03  |  Middle East
Canada tackles Iran over reporter
22 Jul 03  |  Middle East


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