The Story of Iranian Canadian Zahra Kazemi

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Zahra Kazemi was born in Iran in 1948 but later emigrated to Canada and became a citizen in 1993. She worked as a freelance photojournalist, covering conflicts and social issues in various countries, including Iran. In June 2003, Kazemi traveled to Iran to cover the presidential elections and document the country’s political and social climate.

On June 23, 2003, Kazemi was arrested while taking photographs outside Evin Prison, which is known for housing political prisoners and activists. She was taken to an undisclosed location and held incommunicado for several days, during which time she was subjected to severe beatings and torture.

Kazemi’s family was initially informed by Iranian authorities that she had suffered a stroke while in detention and was in a coma. However, they later learned that she had been transferred to a hospital and was in critical condition due to her injuries. She died on July 11, 2003, at the age of 54.

The Iranian government initially claimed that Kazemi had died from a brain hemorrhage resulting from a fall, but her body showed signs of physical trauma and torture. The Iranian authorities then claimed that Kazemi’s death was accidental and that the injuries were caused by a fall in the bathroom of her cell. However, a Canadian autopsy report indicated that Kazemi had been beaten and tortured, and her death was the result of a blow to the head.

Following her death, Kazemi’s family and human rights groups called for an independent investigation into her death and for those responsible to be held accountable. The Canadian government demanded that Iran return Kazemi’s body to Canada for a proper burial, but this request was initially denied by Iranian authorities.

The case attracted international attention and condemnation, with many countries and human rights organizations calling for justice for Kazemi. The Iranian government eventually agreed to return Kazemi’s body to Canada, and a public inquiry was launched by the Canadian government into her death.

The inquiry concluded that Kazemi’s death was the result of a “violent, aggressive, and sustained assault,” and that Iranian authorities were responsible for her death. However, no one has ever been held accountable for her death, and her family has been denied justice and compensation for their loss

Source: Toronto mail, Wikipedia, CBC, The Atlantic

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