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Iran's ambassador to Britain admits Iranian security forces killed Kazemi

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has hailed an 8 February 2005 admission by Iran's ambassador to Britain that Iranian officials killed Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi while she was in custody in Tehran in July 2003.

"We welcome this statement by an official contradicting the position of the Iranian judicial authorities who concluded that Kazemi's death was accidental, but it is necessary that the authorities in Tehran now confirm what he has said," RSF said.

"We also call on the judicial authorities to hold a new trial to establish who was responsible for this journalist's death," the organisation added.

Questioned during an address at St Anthony's College, Oxford, Ambassador Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli said, "I don't support the killing by some shrewd security forces of that lady." He then added, "We are sorry for it."

Kazemi was arrested on 23 June 2003 as she was photographing the relatives of detainees outside Evin prison. She probably died on 10 July 2003, while still in custody. After attempting to cover up the cause of death for a week, Iranian authorities finally admitted that Kazemi was beaten to death.

Following a parliamentary enquiry and strong pressure from Canada and the international community, judicial authorities blamed an intelligence official who had been one of Kazemi's interrogators. He was charged with her death but was later acquitted in a sham trial on 24 July 2004.

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