Iran lawyer for slain journalist takes refuge to avoid arrest    Sat. 30 Jul 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 30 Ė A human rights lawyer representing the family of slain Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi turned up unexpectedly at the Tehran Bar Association on Saturday and began an indefinite sit-in, after police raided his home and tried to arrest him.

Abdolfattah Soltaniís troubles began when he publicly accused
Tehranís Revolutionary Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi on Monday of involvement in the July 2003 murder of Zahra Kazemi, who was killed in Evin Prison after being arrested while taking photographs of families of political prisoners outside Tehranís notorious jail.

Police and agents of the capitalís public prosecutorís office raided Soltaniís home on Wednesday, after the powerful Mortazavi issued a warrant for his arrest.

Soltaniís lawyer, Farideh Gheyrat, said the arrest warrant was illegal, as ďit came out of the blue, with no prior notification or summoning of my clientĒ.

ďThis morning, my client wrote a letter to Judiciary Chief [Mahmoud Shahroudi], in which he said that he would continue his sit-in protest inside the Tehran Bar Association until the reasons for the aggression of agents of the prosecutorís office on his private home and his arrest warrant by the Tehran Prosecutorís office are announcedĒ, the state-run ILNA news agency quoted Gheyrat as saying.

Photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and raped while in detention, according to a former Iranian military doctor who had examined Kazemi at a Revolutionary Guards hospital, where she was taken after losing consciousness in Evin Prison.

Prosecutor Mortazavi himself has been implicated in her murder and a French newspaper quoted sources in
Tehran as saying that Kazemi died of blows to her head by Mortazavi.