Agents accused in journalist’s death

New York, August 25, 2003— An Iranian criminal court investigating the death of Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi in July announced today that two interrogators were responsible for her murder.

The official news agency IRNA reported that court officials called Kazemi’s death in custody a “quasi intentional murder” and ordered the two interrogators, who were not identified, detained. According to press reports, the interrogators were employees at the Information Ministry, which also serves as the Intelligence Ministry.

Kazemi, a contributor to Recto Verso, a Montreal-based magazine, and the London-based photo agency Camera Press, was detained on June 23 while taking photographs outside Tehran’s Evin Prison. She was taken to Baghiatollah Hospital after being held in government custody nearly two weeks and died on July 10, according to an Iranian government report.

For days following Kazemi’s death, some Iranian officials maintained that the journalist died of a stroke. A government investigation later concluded that the journalist suffered a brain hemorrhage. In late July, Iran’s vice president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, said that Kazemi had likely been murdered by a blow to the head.

Late last month, five security agents were detained in connection with her death. Three of them were released.