The European Union deplored the Islamic Republic’s judiciary’s handling of Canadian-Iran photojournalist Zahra Kazemi’s death in custody trial, EU’s Dutch presidency said on Monday in a statement, criticizing the judiciary for abruptly ending the trial of an intelligence ministry agent charged in the case. July 19, 2004 – “The presidency of the EU expresses its concern that the proceedings in the case against the person accused of causing the death in custody of... Mrs Zahra Kazemi in July 2003 were concluded in a very short time and in a way that does not do justice to the severity of the case,” The European Union’s Dutch presidency said on Monday in a statement.
“The presidency deplores that EU and other diplomats in Tehran have been refused full access to the court," it added. The Canadian ambassador Philip MacKinnon, Dutch ambassador Hein de Vries, along with high level officials from the French and British embassies, were barred by the court on Sunday from attending the trial of Mohammad-Reza Aqdam Ahmadi, an intelligence ministry agent, accused of dealing a fatal blow to Kazemi’s head during interrogation.
"This situation can only strengthen our concern that justice may not be done in this case and that no light will be shed on the exact circumstances of the gruesome death in custody of Ms. Kazemi," the EU statement added.
During the hearings, abruptly halted by the judge after only two days, the victim family’s lawyers, and the lawyer of the defendant, separately accused the judiciary of trying a wrong man for the murder. They said witnesses have seen a judiciary official identified as Mohammad Bakhshi beating Kazemi over the head.
Kazemi, who was 54 at the time of her death on July 10, 2003, had been arrested for taking pictures of prisoners’ families outside the Evin prison. A presidential panel said Kazemi died from a brain hemorrhage, after being struck during interrogation.
Canada recalled its ambassador from Tehran to protest the trial’s abrupt end, which the Canadian foreign minister said was a “flagrant denial of justice.”