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23 February 2018

Iran: Investigate the circumstances of the death of human rights defender Kavous Seyed-Emami

Front Line Defenders calls upon the authorities of Iran to investigate the circumstances of the death of Kavous Seyed-Emami, a 63-year old human rights defender who was arrested on 24 January. On 9 February 2018, the government of Iran has stated that the human rights defender committed suicide.

Human rights defender Kavous Seyed-Emami was a sociology professor, environmental activist and coordinator of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Iran’s public prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi stated to tthe Iranian Labour News Agency that the human rights defender, “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.”

On 9 February 2018, the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami was told by Iranian officials that the human rights defender died in Evin prison. This is one of several recent cases of alleged suicides in dubious circumstances in Iran’s prisons.

There have also been numerous cases of medical negligence in detention, torture, and excessive transfers of prisoners have been documented in Iran’s prisons. Golrokh Ebrahimi remains in critical condition as she remains on hunger strike. The human rights defender has fainted several times in the last three days following an arbitrary transfer from Evin Prison to Varamin’s Qarchak Prison.

Meanwhile, human rights defender Narges Mohammadi wrote an open letter from Evin Prison and published 18 February by the Iranian Defenders of Human Rights Center in which she highlighted unfair trial, arbitrary detention, and poor prison conditions. The letter particularly underlined practices of excessive sentences, solitary confinement, and excessive prison transfers.

The family of human rights defender and environmental activist Kavous Seyed-Emami has reportedly been pressured into having an immediate burial despite desire in conducting an independent forensic autopsy to investigate the death of the human rights defender.

Front Line Defenders calls upon the authorities of Iran to carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the death of Kavous Seyed-Emami, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards.