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Last Updated: Monday, 25 July, 2005, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Ebadi condemns Iran appeal court
By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran

File photograph of Zahra Kazemi
Kazemi died in custody in Tehran in July 2003
Iran's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, has bitterly criticised an appeal court that has heard the case of the murder of a journalist.

Ms Ebadi, who is the lawyer for the dead journalist's family, said the legal proceedings were not legitimate as far as she was concerned.

Zahra Kazemi, who held Canadian and Iranian nationality, was beaten to death in custody in Iran.

The case has severely strained relations between Canada and Iran.

No witnesses

The appeal court proceedings in this high-profile human rights case took just under five hours to wind up.

A visibly angry Ms Ebadi told journalists that the court had not taken any interest in her arguments and had not even called any of the witnesses she had named.

Although the judiciary had promised the court would be open to everyone, all foreign journalists were barred from the courtroom, as in previous hearings.

Ms Ebadi complained that the courtroom had been stuffed with security and judicial officials well before the case started.

She said she did not want to predict the verdict, but as far as she was concerned the proceedings had not been legitimate.

Zahra Kazemi was arrested two years ago for taking photographs outside Teheran's main jail, and later died of a blow to the head in custody.

More recent allegations from an Iranian doctor exiled in Canada said Ms Kazemi was also raped and tortured - something Iran has denied as the bogus claims of an asylum-seeker.

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