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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com

DOCTOR HOPES HIS REPORT ON Ms. KAZEMI WOULD HELP JUSTICE

Published Sunday, April 3, 2005



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PARIS 4 Apr. (IPS) As expected, the Iranian clerical-led authorities rejected on Saturday the terrible revelations made by an Iranian doctor who had examined Ms. Zahra Kazemi, the late Iranian-Canadian photojournalist murdered two years ago in an Iranian prison and labelled the medic as an “impostor”

According to Doctor Shahram A’zam, a Lieutenant-colonel of the Iranian Army who was working at the Tehran’s Baqiatollah military hospital that belong to the Revolutionary Guards, not only Ms. Kazemi had been badly beaten up, but also “raped very brutally”.

The 54 years-old photographer had been arrested on 19 June 2003 on the orders of Sa’id Mortazavi, the Public Prosecutor for Tehran and Islamic Revolution tribunal while taking pictures of families of political prisoners protesting in front of the infamous Evin prison in Tehran.

“These charges are baseless and completely false", Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s official spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi – nicknamed Mr. Takzib, or denial -- said in a statement.

Accused of espionage, Ms. Kazemi had been interrogated and beaten up for several days by agents from the office of the Prosecutor, sometimes with the presence of Mr. Mortazavi.

A protégé of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Mortazavi is better known as “the Butcher of the press” for having shut down more than 140 newspapers, weeklies and other independent and pro-reform publications on the orders from his master.

Since under Iranian Islam-based laws male doctors are not allowed to examine women, it was Dr. A’zam's emergency-room nurse who had carried a thorough examination of the prisoner and found that the bruising to be the result of "a very brutal rape".

“The nurse told me that the entire genital area had been damaged", Dr. A’zam said, adding that there was also evidence Ms. Kazemi had been whipped.

“These charges are baseless and completely false", Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s official spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi – nicknamed Mr. Takzib, or denial -- said in a statement.

"The false comments of this usurper are aimed at satisfying his personal interests. In the past, some other individuals have also used the same methods... but their deception was revealed later", the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Mr. Asefi as having said.

DOCTOR HOPES HIS REPORT ON Ms. KAZEMI WOULD HELP JUSTICE-Body

In interviews with the Canadian press, Doctor A’zam, who recently obtained asylum in Canada, claimed that he was working at hospital in the night of June 27, 2003, when an unconscious Zahra Kazemi arrived under armed guards.

"Her entire body carried strange marks of violence", Dr. A’zam was quoted as saying by the newspaper “Globe and Mail” of Toronto. "Everything I saw indicated that organized torture and not an injury was what caused her death," including what he called strange signs of violence and evidence of rape.

A’zam spoke of broken fingers, missing finger nails, and "brutal damage to her genitals."

But the Director of the Baqiatollah Hospital where Ms. Kazemi had been admitted also said he had never heard of a doctor named A’zam working in this hospital.

However, in interviews with foreign-based radio stations, including the Persian services of the BBC and the RFI (Radio France Internationale), Dr. A’zam provided such graphic and precise technical details of the physical state of the patient when brought to the hospital that leaved no place for doubt that he had examined Ms. Kazemi.

The vaginal area presented a “very bad trauma”,indicating a “very savage rape or the introduction of an object into the vagina.

“It was on late at night that guards brought us a patient who was completely unconscious. The patient I saw first was a woman of over 50 who was covered in sheets, with the head filled with bruises. The medical document coming with her was stating that she suffered from digestion and diarrhoea. But what I saw was that nose bones were broken, on the left side of the forefront near the ear there were signs of black spots, haematomas behind the head, and grey to black spots over the eyes etc..”, he said, adding that thorough examinations also showed that “something had happened to the brain”.

He also said, quoting his female nurse, that the vaginal area presented a “very bad trauma”, meaning that this indicated a “very savage rape or the introduction of an object other into the vagina, for a normal rape does not leave such signs of injuries due to trauma on a married woman”.

Asked by RFI if his revelations would have any impact on the investigations about the death of Ms. Kazemi, Doctor A’zam replied immediately that not only he “hopes so”, but he would work very hard that justice is done.

DOCTOR HOPES HIS REPORT ON Ms. KAZEMI WOULD HELP JUSTICE-Body-2

“From the moment I saw the appalling state Ms. Kazemi, the damages involved would show that she had been tortured for several days, I told myself that I could not let injustice prevail and worked hard on plans to get out of Iran and tell the world how savagely she had been treated for quite a long period of time. I had to relieve my conscience too. The reaction of he Canadian authorities raises hopes that one day the Islamic Republic would be placed in a position to answer its brutal deeds”, Mr. A’zam concluded.

The case of Ms. Kazemi cooled normally good relations between Tehran and Ottawa, as the Iranian authorities refused demands by Canada as well as Ms. Kazemi’s son and mother to have the body transferred to Montreal for autopsy and insisted that the death was due to a heart stroke.

A ministerial investigation committee had concluded vaguely that Ms. Kazemi’s head might have hit a “solid object or vice et versa”.

But jurists said since Doctor A’zam has made his claims to the press before reporting them to competent international and national instances, it would be more difficult to give suite.

“We could make a better use of Mr. A’zam’s report if he would have informed the Iranian judiciary, and knowing well that this power is not independent, international human rights organisations and other competent courts could act afterward”, noted Mr. Karim Lahiji, an Iranian lawyer and vice-president of the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights. ENDS KAZEMI REPORT 4405

 

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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com


DOCTOR HOPES HIS REPORT ON Ms. KAZEMI WOULD HELP JUSTICE-Main
"Shahram A'zam is an impostor. He is not known at the hospital and his claims are baseless", said Mr. Hamid Raza Asefi.



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