Kavous Seyed Emami (pictured) died in mysterious circumstances in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran
Canada has stepped up its demand for answers after the death of renowned Iranian-Canadian environmentalist Kavous Seyed Emami who died in mysterious circumstances.
Tehran’s chief prosecutor accused Mr Emami of being part of an espionage network set up by Israel’s Mossad and the CIA and officials in Iran say he committed suicide in the notorious Evin prison.
But Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said she is ‘seriously concerned’ over the detention and death of Mr Emami.
She said Ottawa has ‘repeatedly’ expressed concerns over the case and added: ‘We are seriously concerned by the situation surrounding the detention and death of Mr Seyed Emami.
‘A Canadian has died. We expect the Government of Iran to provide information and answers into the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.’
Ms Freeland pledged ‘to use every means at Canada’s disposal to seek further information.’
Mr Emami, 63, (pictured) was a professor and founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation
Mr Emami, 63, a professor and founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, was buried on Tuesday in the village of Ammami around 25 miles north of the capital Tehran.
Iranian officials say he committed suicide in his prison cell a fortnight after being arrested along with seven members of his non-governmental organisation.
However, human rights groups have now called for an independent investigation into his death.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland (pictured) has pledged ‘to use every means at Canada’s disposal to seek further information’
Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, said the prosecutor’s report which said it was a suicide had ‘no credibility whatsoever’.
He said: ‘This is a prison system out of control and a judiciary that is actively colluding in a massive cover-up.’
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on Tuesday the NGO was set up ‘about a decade ago’ as a cover to collect ‘classified information in defense and missile fields.’
He said Mr Emami was one of the main contacts for US agents and an intelligence officer had stayed at his home.
A post-mortem was carried out on Emami’s body on Monday after family and colleagues raised doubts about his suicide.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency reports that Mr Emani was sending information to the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services.
Payam Derafshan, a lawyer for the family, told the ILNA news agency that he had watched a video from the cell along with the family, which authorities have said proves he killed himself.
‘Because there is not a good angle… the act of suicide is not clear,’ Derafshan told ILNA.
On Monday, Omar Alghabra, Canada’s parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, expressed Canada’s concern about the Emami case and said Ottawa ‘has asked Iranian authorities for answers.’