Iranian Academics Demand Authorities Probe ‘Suicide’ of Prominent Environmentalist

Iranian Academics Demand Authorities Probe ‘Suicide’ of Prominent Environmentalist

Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 - 09:45
Seyed Emami was one of the founders of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation [AFP]
London- Asharq Al Awsat
Top Iranian academics and human rights advocates demanded on Monday that the suspicious death, identified as suicide by authorities, of prominent sociologist and environmental activist Dr. Kavous Seyed Emami be probed.

“The Revolutionary Guard has announced its readiness to provide documents and evidence to the parliament about the suicide of Emami,” said Mohammad Reza Tabash, a member of the environment Bloc.

“The parliament will hold a meeting with officials of the judiciary, the prison guard, the Revolutionary Guard, intelligence and the Environment Organization in the next few days,” he added.

On January 24 and 25, security forces reportedly arrested seven environmental activists, including Emami, 63, a well-known Iranian-Canadian academic and a faculty member of Imam Sadegh University. On February 10, Ramin Emami, his son, wrote on social media that authorities had summoned his mother the day before to inform her that her husband had “committed suicide” in detention.

Emami’s death ignited waves of local and international anger.

Farideh Oladghobad, Iranian educator and reformist politician who is currently a member of the Parliament of Iran representing Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr electoral district, refused to charge environmentalists with espionage.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Deputy Head of Iran's Department of Environment Kaveh Madani, appointed by President Hassan Rouhani last year, published a video recording that appeared to confirm he had been briefly detained in recent days.

A well-known water conservation activist trained in the United States, Madani was plucked in September from his job at Imperial College London to join the government, signaling President Hassan Rouhani's efforts to encourage the return of Iranians from abroad.

Emami is the second Canadian citizen to die in Iran's prisons following the murder in 2003 of 54-year-old Zahra Kazemi, who had been arrested for taking photos outside Evin prison.

The vice-president at the time, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, stated that she died from "a brain hemorrhage caused by a beating".

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