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Death of Iranian professor in Tehran shows latest crackdown on dissent

Death of Iranian professor in Tehran shows latest crackdown on dissent
An Iranian-Canadian university professor detained in Tehran has died in custody, activists and a family member said Sunday, marking the latest suspicious death of a detainee in Iran after a crackdown on dissent following nationwide protests, The Star reported on Monday.
They identified the professor as Kavous Seyed-Emami, a 63-year-old professor of sociology at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran and the managing director of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation. His son and the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran say that authorities told Seyed-Emami’s family that he committed suicide in custody, something they described as suspicious following other detainee deaths.
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi later confirmed the professor’s death on Sunday, saying he had been detained in an alleged espionage ring. The prosecutor on Saturday announced the ring, saying it had targeted people who were “implementing scientific and environmental projects” to collect information on “strategic areas.”
“He knew there were a lot of confessions against him and he also confessed himself,” Dolatabadi was quoted as saying Sunday by the semi-official ILNA news agency. “Unfortunately, he committed suicide in prison.”
The professor’s son, musician Ramin Seyed-Emami who performs under the stage name King Raam, wrote on Instagram that his father had died following his arrest on Jan. 24.
“They say he committed suicide. I still can’t believe this,” he wrote.
Canada’s foreign ministry said it was aware of reports of Seyed-Emami’s death. An Iranian reformist lawmaker, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted that he failed to get information on Seyed-Emami’s death despite calls to “related officials.”
“Some of them refused to comment, some others said we pursued (but) failed to get information,” the lawmaker wrote.
Iran entered the new year with nationwide protests sweeping across 75 cities and towns. The demonstrations initially focused on Iran’s poor economy despite its nuclear deal with world powers, but quickly spiralled into chants directly challenging Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and its theocratic government.
Authorities arrested nearly 5,000 people in the crackdown that followed, according to Alireza Rahimi, an Iranian lawmaker. At least 25 people were killed in clashes surrounding the demonstrations.
Last Modified: Monday، 12 February 2018 04:42 PM
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