Iran General NewsMD who treated Kazemi reportedly held in Iran

MD who treated Kazemi reportedly held in Iran

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Globe and Mail: A doctor who treated Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in the intensive care unit of a Tehran hospital has reportedly been arrested by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The doctor’s life may be in jeopardy because he can testify about the severity of the head wounds and other injuries the photojournalist suffered while she was in the custody of Iranian authorities, Stephan Hachemi, Ms. Kazemi’s son, said yesterday. The Globe and Mail

By JEFF SALLOT

Page A11

OTTAWA – A doctor who treated Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in the intensive care unit of a Tehran hospital has reportedly been arrested by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The doctor’s life may be in jeopardy because he can testify about the severity of the head wounds and other injuries the photojournalist suffered while she was in the custody of Iranian authorities, Stephan Hachemi, Ms. Kazemi’s son, said yesterday.

“This is another attempt by the Iranian government to hide the facts about my mother’s murder,” he said.

The Canadian government said it is trying to get more information about the doctor’s apparent arrest.

“If it is true that he has information relevant to Ms. Kazemi’s case, we call upon the Iranian authorities to bring it forward and examine it in the investigation and new trial which her family and we have requested,” said Marie-Christine Lilkoff, a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The doctor, Hadi Sepherlou, was reportedly arrested at his apartment in Tehran last Sunday, just 24 hours before an Iranian court heard an appeal by the Kazemi family lawyer to reopen the case.

Ms. Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian dual national, died in July of 2003 after 17 days in custody in Iran. Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew says the 54-year-old was murdered.

At first, Iranian authorities said she had suffered a stroke. But an Iranian presidential commission found she had died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage. Another physician who treated her, and has since fled the country, Shahram Azam, says she appeared to have been tortured and raped.

Like Dr. Azam, Dr. Sepherlou “asked a lot of questions about what happened to this woman. He was really shocked by her condition,” Mr. Hachemi said.

The son said he received information about Dr. Sepherlou’s disappearance from some of his medical colleagues who became concerned when the physician did not report for work this week at the hospital.

The colleagues went to his apartment and were told by neighbours that plainclothes officers of the Revolutionary Guard, carrying guns and walkie-talkies, arrested Dr. Sepherlou on Sunday. The officers also took documents, books and the doctor’s computer.

The medical colleagues then made the rounds to various government security offices, but were unable to get any information about Dr. Sepherlou, Mr. Hachemi said. All signs indicate that this is another attempt to cover up his mother’s murder “and to try to intimidate others” who know about the case, he added.

News of Dr. Sepherlou’s disappearance began circulating among exiles on Persian-language Internet sites several days ago. But the physician was not identified by name. One website said the doctor had photos and X-rays of Ms. Kazemi and that the Canadian embassy had granted him an immigration visa. But Ms. Lilkoff said the doctor had not been in contact with the embassy.

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