Questions surround death of environmentalist in Iranian prison

Kavous Seyed Emami

Questions surround death of environmentalist in Iranian prison

The singer said that his father was arrested on January 24 and his mother Maryam was informed of the death on Friday. He added: "I still can't believe this".

An Iranian reformist lawmaker, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted that he failed to get information on Seyed-Emami's death despite calls to "related officials".

"The suicide came as such a shock to his friends and to the academic community", Sadri, who met Seyed-Emami at an Iranian university during a sabbatical, told CBC News on Sunday.

The news of Mr Seyed-Emmi's death comes after the Iranian authorities announced that two Iranians arrested during the recent wave of anti-government protests had killed themselves in prison.

Tehran's chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, had said on Saturday that a number of people active in the environmentalist field had been arrested, although he gave no names.

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"Tehran's prosecutor said those individuals, in the context of implementing scientific and environmental projects, sought to collect information ... on the country's strategic areas", a report by the state-run IRNA news agency said, without elaborating.

Seyed-Emami was the managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect Iran's rare animals, and a US -trained scholar in sociology.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) holds the Iranian Judiciary fully responsible for the death of Seyed-Emami and calls for an immediate, worldwide UN-led investigation into the three deaths that have occurred in custody in Iran in the past 40 days.

Dozens of dual nationals are in jail in Iran, mostly on spying charges. Security agents warned their families that if news of the arrests reached the media, the detainees would be treated more harshly.

Seyed-Ebrahimi is the second Iranian-Canadian who has died in custody in Iran.

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Seyed-Emami is believed to have been a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen.

In 2003, an Iranian-Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, was beaten to death in Evin prison after she was detained while taking pictures.

Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father Baquer, a former UNICEF representative who served as governor of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province under the USA -backed shah, are both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges.

Heydari died in detention at the 12th Police Precinct in the city of Arak, Central Province, sometime between the end of December 2017 and the beginning of January 2018.

However, local activists and family members told CHRI that one of Heydari's relatives saw evidence of a severe blow to Heydari's skull before his body was buried. Photo of Kavous Seyed-Emami courtesy of CHRI.

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Human rights groups outside the country have accused Iranian authorities of systematic abuses in prisons.

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