Iran, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine and refugee camps in Syria and Jordan. A selection of Shahrzad Arshadi and Babak Salari, collected by Stephan Hachemi.
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Kazemi, 54, was an Iranian-Canadian freelance photographer who died 11 July 2003 following her June arrest for taking photographs of Iranian student demonstrators outside Evin prison in Tehran. Iran's official report said Kazemi died of a stroke on 13 July 2003. Three days later Iran's vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi said Kazemi died from beatings.
Following pressure from Canada, Iran investigators conclude Mohammed Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, 42, was one of two responsible for Kazemi's death and his trial began 7 October 2003, but was suspended and didn't resume until 17 July 2004. Mohammed Reza Aghdam Ahmadi was acquitted seven days later. Iran offered $12,000 to Kazemi's surviving son, Stephan Hachemi, he refused the payment calling it blood money.
Not until 31 March 2005, did the truth emerge. Former military staff physician, Shahram Azam, left Iran in August 2004 and sought asylum in Canada. He admits he examined Kazemi's body upon her death and described signs of torture, including evidence of a brutal rape, a fractured skull, two broken fingers, and severe abdominal bruising. Canada calls Kazemi's death murder.
The chief executioner and Tehran's prosecutor, Mr. Mortazavi, and the members of the intelligence ministry of the Islamic Republic were standing there, vehemently urging her to confess to the crimes she never committed two years ago. She was gagged with a towel, while two men removed her clothes and raped the photojournalist until she lost consciousness. Finally, she lapsed into a coma.
This was a premeditated murder by the secret service members of the Islamic Republic.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, in a desperate attempt to cover up this brutal action, buried her body in Iran and refused the government of Canada's request to allow an international team of forensic scientists to examine Kazemi's body.
This has been the story of many peace-loving Iranians for the past 26 years. One wonders if Kazemi had not been a Canadian citizen, would her case have attracted the front-page newspapers of the world?
The primary responsibility of any government is to protect its citizens. Since its inception in 1979, the Islamic regime has sentence thousands of innocent citizens to the gas chambers, Islamic slaughterhouses, public hangings, stoning, and other cruelties including rape. The government is getting away with these crimes against all of humanity.
When is the world going to look at the Islamic Republic as the form of an absolute theocratic political terrorist state that it is? When is the world going to learn the lessons of history, not to appease the terrorists?
The current theocratic regime in Iran is also a totalitarian state, which has been imposed upon the Iranian people by force and brutal actions. Totalitarianism is defined as having absolute power over its citizens, especially when exercised unjustly.
We must salute Kazemi and all other brave journalists who have died for their passionate belief in seeking truth, justice, and for making the world aware of plight. Kazemi did her job at great personal risk and she did whatever it took to find the truth, but the truth didn't spare her own life.
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