Monday, July 14, 2003Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) today endorsed a call by Stephen Hashemi, the son of Zahra Kazemi, to have his mother's body returned to Canada. Zahra Kazemi, a 54-year-old photojournalist and citizen of Canada, died on the weekend while in custody of Iranian police. "We also call on the Government of Iran to allow an international team of pathologists perform an independent autopsy on the body of Zahra Kazemi,"CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said. "And if these specialists establish that a crime has been committed, then we call on Iran to punish the guilty." The 54-year-old Kazemi, who in the past decade covered stories in the Middle East and Afghanistan, 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. Iranian authorities said she suffered a "brain attack" but Kazemi's family said she was brutally beaten by her interrogators. 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. CJFE is an association of 400 journalists, editors, producers, publishers and citizens working to promote free expression and media freedom in Canada and around the world. For more information, please contact Joel Ruimy at (416) 515-9622 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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