Iranian scholar and environmental activist dies in prison

Iranian scholar and environmental activist dies in prison

Kavous Seyed-Emami, 63, a dual Canadian national, was arrested last month.

One opposition figure inside Iran, Ali Shakourirad, said Seyed Emami's death had "created a wave of questions".

Activists say there have been other suspicious deaths among detainees that have been labelled as suicide.

Human rights groups outside the country have accused Iranian authorities of systematic abuses in prisons.

"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", Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi told the ILNA news agency.

An Iranian environmentalist has died in prison, his son said on Twitter, less than month since he was arrested.

"The news of my father's passing is impossible to fathom", he wrote.

On Instagram, Raam said Iranian authorities said Emami had committed suicide in jail. "I still can't believe this", Raam Seyed-Emami said.

'The information published about him is not believable, and we expect officials to respond and to provide the public with information concerning his death, ' it said.

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Iran Wire writer Arash Azizi told CTV News Channel Saturday that Emami faced "trumped-up charges" of espionage.

"The claim of a suicide is highly questionable", Ghaemi said in a telephone interview, while admitting he had "no idea" how the professor may have really died. "He was very profound, very composed, not at all political".

Some analysts see the arrests of the environmentalists as part of a wider confrontation between reformists and conservatives in the Iranian government on a range of economic and social issues, a rift that grew amid widesporead protests at the beginning of January.

On Saturday the prosecutor said the Iranian authorities had arrested people who had been gathering classified information "under the coverage of scientific and environmental projects".

Iranian-Canadian photographer died in Iran's infamous Evin prison in 2003, leading to an escalation of tensions between the two countries.

A senior official with the UN Environment Programme, Gary Lewis, tweeted that Seyed Emami was "a good man who loved #nature and Iran".

Their families, rights groups and lawyers have rejected the explanations of their deaths and demanded an independent investigation.

They include an Iranian-American dual national, Morad Tahbaz, CHRI said.

Global affairs expert Elliott Tepper told Reuters that "suicide" cases like these often means "they were beaten or tortured to death in prison".

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