Kazemi Declared Brain-Dead; Iran Must Take Responsibility, CJFE Says

Friday, July 11, 2003
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) mourns today following news that Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi has been declared brain-dead following injuries sustained while in police custody in Tehran. CJFE also calls on the Government of Iran to punish those responsible for this vicious crime. "Zahra Kazemi was a photojournalist doing her job," CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said of the woman who in the past decade covered stories in the Middle East and Afghanistan. "Now she will never regain consciousness." "She posed no threat to anyone. Yet she was arrested, suffered brutal injuries, and now will never recover from the injuries she suffered while in the custody of security officials. We call on Iran to say immediately that it will make public all the facts in this case and punish the perpetrators." The 54-year-old Kazemi, a Canadian citizen born in Iran, was arrested at the end of last month while taking photos of a prison in Tehran where protesters were incarcerated following a series of student demonstrations in June. While in custody, she suffered a brain hemorrhage. Doctors in Tehran have advised Canadian diplomats she will not recover. Those Canadian diplomats, allowed earlier this month to observe the unconscious Kazemi only from a distance, were unable to say authoritatively the source of her injuries. But others, including her family in Canada, charge she was beaten by her interrogators. The Iranian government has remained silent about the case. CJFE welcomed yesterday's announcement that the Canadian government had convened a meeting with Iran's ambassador to Canada to ask for an explanation. "But this case must not be allowed to disappear," Ruimy said. "All Canadians must demand justice on behalf of Kazemi." CJFE is an association of more than 400 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others committed to preserving press freedom and freedom of expression in Canada and around the world. For more information, please contact Joel Ruimy at (416) 515-9622 or at cjfe@cjfe.org

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