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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 11:56 GMT
Iran: A Murder Mystery
Iranian-born photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi, returned to her home country in June 2003 after 30 years in exile. It was to be her last trip.

Zahra Kazemi
Zahra Kazemi was passionate about photography and human rights

Police arrested Zahra outside the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, for taking photographs of a vigil by the families of prisoners inside.

Many of the 4000 students who were arrested during the demonstrations that month had been taken there.

While in custody, Zahra became ill. Two weeks later, she was dead.

Political control

Iran is a country divided. There is an ongoing battle between the unelected hardline cleric minority, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and the elected reformists, led by President Khatami.

The impending Iranian elections will see the hardliners and reformists enter into full-scale confrontation.

The circumstances surrounding Zahra's death have, in the words of the Iranian lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, told us more about the real Iran than any photograph ever could.

Seeking the truth

Iran: A Murder Mystery was filmed on location in Iran and Canada, where the This World team gained unprecedented access to Zahra's family and friends.

The programme includes the only television interview with her mother, and the moving testimony of a witness who saw how Zahra was treated when she was finally taken to hospital.

The public row that ensued in Iran between the hardliners and reformists left the Iranian people to draw their own conclusions.

Zahra's son, Stephan, is still campaigning to have his mother's body returned to Canada.

So what really happened to Zahra during her 78 hours in custody?

Iran: A Murder Mystery was broadcast in the UK on Sunday, 15 February, 2004 at 2100 on BBC Two.



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