Canada presses Iran for details on death of Iranian-Canadian in Tehran jail

This handout photograph released on February 11, 2018 by the family of Iranian-Canadian environmentalist Kavous Seyed Emami shows him at an unidentified location. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Canada presses Iran for details on death of Iranian-Canadian in Tehran jail

OTTAWA: The Canadian government said on Tuesday it was “seriously concerned” with the circumstances surrounding the death of an Iranian-Canadian dual citizen in a Tehran prison, and that it was pressing Iran to provide details on what happened.
Kavous Seyed-Emami, an environmental activist and sociology professor, was arrested on Jan. 24 and died in prison, his son wrote on Twitter last week. Iran’s judiciary said on Sunday that Seyed-Emami, 63, had committed suicide.

“We are seriously concerned by the situation surrounding the detention and death of Mr. Seyed-Emami,” Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said in a statement.
“We expect the Government of Iran to provide information and answers into the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. We will continue to use every means at Canada’s disposal to seek further information.”
Seyed-Emami was the managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, an organization aimed at protecting Iran’s rare animals, and a US-trained scholar in sociology.
He was arrested the same day as at least nine other staff members at his organization, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a non-profit group based in New York.
Iran’s judiciary said Seyed-Emami was a defendant in a spying case and had committed suicide because of the weight of evidence against him, an Iranian news agency reported on Sunday.
He died in Tehran’s Evin prison, his son said.
Canada does not have an embassy in Iran. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been tense since an Iranian-Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, was beaten to death in prison in 2003 after she was detained while taking pictures.
Dozens of dual nationals are in jail in Iran, mostly on spying charges.


Lebanese parliament re-elects Berri as speaker

Updated 7 min 55 sec ago
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Lebanese parliament re-elects Berri as speaker

  • After his re-election as speaker, Berri called for a new government to be formed as soon as possible
  • Berri, 80, heads the Amal Movement and has been allied with Hezbollah since the end of Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war

BEIRUT: Shi'ite politician Nabih Berri, a close ally of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, was re-elected as speaker of Lebanon's parliament for the sixth time since 1992 on Wednesday, securing the backing of 98 out of 128 lawmakers.
The new parliament was sitting for the first time since the May 6 general election, Lebanon's first since 2009. After his re-election as speaker, Berri called for a new government to be formed as soon as possible.
Berri, 80, heads the Amal Movement and has been allied with Hezbollah since the end of Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war.
He was unopposed for the post, reserved for a Shi'ite under Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system. Outgoing Sunni prime minister Saad al-Hariri, an opponent of Hezbollah, had declared support for his re-election.
Berri's office issued a statement urging supporters to avoid celebratory gunfire.
Another Hezbollah ally, Elie Ferzli, is a leading candidate to be elected as deputy speaker, reflecting a shift in the political landscape in favour of Hezbollah since the 2009 vote.
Ferzli, like Berri and Hezbollah, has close ties to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Parties and individuals who back Hezbollah's possession of arms won at least 70 of parliament's 128 seats. The last time Lebanon held an election, an anti-Hezbollah alliance led by Hariri and backed by Saudi Arabia won a majority.
The deputy speaker position, reserved for a Greek Orthodox Christian, has been held by a Hezbollah opponent since 2005, the year Syrian troops were forced to withdraw from Lebanon after the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father.