FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: (202) 386-6325
The National Iranian American Council released the following statement after Iranian authorities claimed Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist, Kavous Seyed-Emami, committed suicide in prison:
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“The death of Iranian-Canadian Kavous Seyed-Emami while in custody at Evin Prison on vague charges of espionage is deeply concerning. NIAC calls on Iranian authorities to allow an independent autopsy and uninhibited investigation into the circumstances that led to Seyed-Emami’s death in order to determine whether his human rights were violated and to hold accountable those responsible.
“Iran is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which obligates Iran to ensure that everyone has the right to ‘life, liberty and security of person,’ and that ‘[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ Seyed-Emami does not appear to have posed a security threat nor does the Iranian Judiciary’s explanation of his death add up. Moreover, coming on the heels of at least two other deaths at Evin Prison ruled officially as ‘suicides’ since the outbreak of protests in late December, Seyed-Emami’s death creates the suspicion that Iranian authorities are killing political opponents with impunity. If this is not the case, Iranian authorities should be eager to permit an uninhibited independent investigation.
“Iran is facing major and serious environmental issues which have worried the population at large, and the government needs to take those concerns seriously. Instead, given the treatment of Seyed-Emami and other environmental activists by Iranian authorities, it appears that Iran’s government is intent on securitizing the environmental sphere like so many other parts of Iranian society.
“NIAC once again reiterates its call on the Iranian government to fully abide by its international human rights obligations, including by releasing all prisoners of conscience.”