via The Guardian:
Saturday November 19, 2005 [excerpted]
Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photojournalist, was arrested photographing a demo in Tehran and beaten to death in prison. Now, three years on, her son is still seeking justice - and Kazemi's photographs are creating a new political storm. Andréa Schmidt reports
[...] Zahra Kazemi was 54 years old when she was beaten into a coma by Iranian interrogators. An Iranian-Canadian photojournalist based in Montreal, she had travelled in the Middle East, Africa and central America, focusing on ordinary people, particularly women and children, chronicling day-to-day lives constrained by poverty and repressive regimes.
In one picture, a young Palestinian girl, weighed down by her school bag, walks home at the end of the day. Debris on the road burns, and Israeli military trucks loom in the background. In another taken in 2002, an Afghan girl stares accusingly at the camera. One taken in Iran captures a woman covered in an abbaya, reading a book alongside an expanse of sea. Kazemi was, as Montrealers like to say, "une artiste engagée" - an artist whose political and social commitments suffused her work and gave it life. Her images give a value to the sort of resistance to oppression that often goes overlooked. [read on...]
via CBC News Online:
INDEPTH: ZAHRA KAZEMI
Iran's changing story
November 16, 2005
Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in Iranian custody on July 11, 2003, almost three weeks after she was arrested for taking pictures outside a prison during a student protest in Tehran.
Two days later, Iran's official news agency reported that Kazemi had died in hospital, after suffering a stroke while she was being interrogated. On July 16, 2003, the story changed. Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Iran's vice-president, conceded that Kazemi died as a result of being beaten.
Later, the Iranian government would charge an Iranian security agent in Kazemi's death. He was acquitted of a charge of "quasi-intentional murder. In July 2004, Iran's judiciary said the head injuries that killed Kazemi were the result of an "accident."
The case stayed under the radar screens of most Canadians until March 31, 2005, and the stunning revelations of Shahram Azam, a former staff physician in Iran's Defence Ministry. He said he examined Kazemi in hospital, four days after her arrest.
Azam said Kazemi showed obvious signs of torture, including:
* Evidence of a very brutal rape.
* A skull fracture, two broken fingers, missing fingernails, a crushed big toe and a broken nose.
* Severe abdominal bruising, swelling behind the head and a bruised shoulder.
* Deep scratches on the neck and evidence of flogging on the legs.
Azam left Iran in August 2004, saying he was seeking medical treatment in Finland. He later went to Sweden and got in touch with Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi. With the help of Canadian lawyers, Hachemi helped Azam and his family get to Canada. He was granted landed immigrant status as a refugee sponsored by the government of Canada.
After Kazemi's death, Hachemi demanded that Iran return her body to Canada for burial – but Iran refused. He has also been critical of the federal government, saying Ottawa did not do enough to help his mother. He has demanded that Canada take the case to the International Court of Justice. [read on...]