Human Rights

Canadian-Iranian Environmentalist Dies in Evin Prison; Regime Claims He Committed Suicide

The Iranian regime said that a Canadian-Iranian environmentalist killed himself in prison last week after having been arrested two weeks earlier, the BBC reported Sunday.

Authorities told the wife of Kavous Seyed-Emami on Friday that he had died in Iran’s infamous Evin prison. Emami’s son, Raam, an Iranian singer who performs as King Raam, expressed skepticism that his father killed himself on social media.

Emami, who was a sociology professor, also headed the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation was one of seven people arrested on January 24. Authorities charged that the seven, also including an American-Iranian dual national, Morad Tahbaz, were accused of collecting restricted information “under the coverage of scientific and environmental projects.”

“He was one of the defendants in a spying case and unfortunately he committed suicide in prison since he knew that many had made confessions against him and because of his own confessions,” Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, Tehran’s prosecutor told Iranian media.

According to the BBC, activists have charged that Iranian authorities have claimed that other who prisoners who have died mysteriously committed suicide. An Iranian rights group, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), told the BBC that the Iranian government has been targeting dual nationals more frequently.

Reuters reported in November of last year that Iran had arrested at least 30 dual nationals since the nuclear deal was agreed to in July 2015.

The Iran Sociology Association also questioned the official account of his death.

In addition to the family, others raised doubts about Emami’s death.

The Iran Sociology Association released a statement saying, “The information published about him is not believable and we expect officials to respond.”

The head of the Iran’s Islamic Union Party, which is considered to be a reformist party, Ali Shakourirad,  said on Twitter that Emami’s death had “caused a wave of questions and concerns among the public.”

[Photo: Actualités 24h / YouTube]