Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer for the family of a journalist who died in custody in Tehran threatened international legal action yesterday after an Iranian court failed to identify the killer. “I will pursue this case until my last breath,” said Ms Ebadi, a human rights lawyer and Nobel peace prize winner.
Muhammad Reza Ahmadi, an intelligence ministry official, was cleared of the murder of the Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi in a verdict announced on Saturday.
Canada said last night that it was unhappy with the handling of the case and was “reviewing further options”, having already withdrawn its ambassador to Tehran.
Kazemi, 54, was arrested in June last year for photographing a student protest outside the Evin prison in Tehran. After several days of interrogation, she was moved to hospital, where she died.
Officials in the judiciary said she had had a stroke, but a parliamentary commission found she had died of a brain haemorrhage after a blow to the head. Relatives said her fingers, nose and toes were broken and she had burn marks on her chest.
The failed prosecution of Mr Ahmadi is seen as part of a battle between the conservative judiciary and the reform-minded government. His employer, the intelligence ministry, is controlled by reformists. The legal team Ms Ebadi leads suggested that the real killer was a judiciary official in Evin prison.