Iranian authorities refuse to release Canadian-Iranian academic’s body for independent autopsy

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Kavous Seyed-Emami’s death remains in a halo of mystery as the Iranian authorities have said they will refuse to release the body of the Canadian-Iranian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami to his family unless there is an immediate burial and no attempt to conduct an independent autopsy. Seyed-Emami’s family has called on Iran to allow an independent autopsy of his body.

The Iranian authorities is putting pressure on the family to bury his body before receiving any independent and approved medical information regarding the cause of his death, and keep silent about the circumstances that led to his death.

In a statement released on February 12, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty international’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa said:

“The authorities’ refusal to allow an independent investigation into the extremely suspicious death of Dr Seyed-Emami smacks of a deliberately orchestrated attempt to cover up any evidence of torture and possible murder. He was detained in Evin prison where detainees are held under constant surveillance and stripped of all personal possessions. It would have been near impossible for him to commit suicide.

“We are deeply concerned that Dr Seyed-Emami’s body bears incriminating signs of torture and other clues to the reasons for his death. We call on the Canadian government and the international community to continue to place pressure on the Iranian authorities to allow an independent investigation into the circumstances of Dr Seyed-Emami’s death in accordance with international standards. Those responsible, including any individual with command responsibility, must be brought to justice.”

Dr. Kavous Seyed Emami, 64, a sociologist and university professor, was arrested on January 24, 2018 and Tehran’s Revolutionary Court informed his family on February 8, that he had committed suicide in prison.

On the same day as Seyed-Emami’s arrest, at least nine other staff members and executives of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation were also taken into custody in Tehran, according to a relative of one of the detainees who asked not to be identified.

They included Niloufar Bayani, Morad Tahbaz (an Iranian-American dual national), Sepideh Kashani, Houman Jowkar and Taher Ghadirian. Security agents warned their families that if news of the arrests reached the media, the detainees would be treated more harshly.

In the past month at least 13 people who had been arrested during Iran protests lost their lives in custody. Iranian officials claimed they committed suicide or died because of “non-availability of narcotics” or “the excess use of narcotics.” This is while evidences strongly suggested that the detainees were tortured to death as bruises were evident on their corpses.

Iranian officials claimed Sina Ghanbari, 23 and Vahid Heydari, 22 both of whom died in custody after being arrested in the recent protests were drug addicts.

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