Slain journalist Zahra Kazemi family’s lawyers will appeal to a higher court to reopen the investigation into her death in custody, after a Tehran criminal court acquitted an intelligence ministry agent, who was the only person charged in the killing. July 24, 2004 - “Since we had irrefutable evidence that other people should have been prosecuted, we moved the court to declare the indictment incomplete, and return it to the prosecution for further investigation,” Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah, a member of the slain journalist Zahra Kazemi family’s legal team, tells Radio Farda’s broadcaster Maryam Ahmadi.
“The court also had the option to rule against its own jurisdiction, since murder cases have to be heard before a five-judge panel in a province-level penal court,” Dadkhah adds.
“But the court did not act on either of these motions, thus we now have to file a formal appeal to the provincial court, in the hopes that the case would be reopened,” he adds.
“The international community is anxious to see the result of the prosecution of a murder which has happened in the custody of judiciary,” he says.
Zahra Kazemi, 54, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist died in July 2003 of injuries from a blow to her head during interrogation at the Evin prison, where she had been taken for photographing the prisoners’ families gathered outside.
“She had an official permit to take those pictures, but she was arrested mistakenly, and was imprisoned and interrogated forcibly, and was killed in prison,” Dadkhah says. “We don’t know who the killer was, and this is not acceptable, considering that the murder had taken place within the confines of a prison where only certain, authorized people had access to the prisoner,” he says.
“Since Iran is a signatory to the UN Human Rights declaration, it is possible to pursue this case in a number of international venues, and we can ask international bodies to investigate this case and announce their findings,” he adds.
“Our first step however is to appeal the ruling to a higher court, a province-level penal court, and if that did not succeed, we can appeal to the supreme court,” he says.
A Tehran criminal court ruled on Saturday to acquitted an intelligence ministry agent, the only person charged with Kazemi’s killing. Kazemi’s legal team and the defendant’s lawyer asked the court to summon witnesses who had seen a judiciary security official hitting Kazemi over the head.