Seyed-Emami’s Son Reveals Threats Against Family
Ramin Seyed-Emami Says Family is Seeking Independent Investigation
February 14, 2018 — The son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist who died while he was detained in Evin Prison for interrogations in early February 2018, has broken his family’s silence on the case and issued a statement on his personal blog. In it, Ramin Seyed-Emami said a film of his father’s last hours in his cell does not show him committing the act of suicide, and that the family will be using “every legal channel” to launch an independent investigation.
Ramin Seyed-Emami also wrote that his mother was “interrogated and threatened” for three hours and told not to speak to the media before she was informed that her husband had died on February 9.
The full English statement as it appeared on Ramin Seyed-Emami’s blog on February 14, 2018, follows.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM RAMIN SEYED EMAMI (FEB 14)
Before anything else, I want to thank those who in the past few days have given their love and support to the Seyed Emami family. Your presence has given life to Kavous’ absence. I also want to thank those — lawyers, MPs, journalists, and friends — who have tried to shine light on the ambiguities of this case.
We have a right to know why my father was arrested and the circumstances that led to his passing. In the laws of Iran, this right has been secured. We will use every legal channel at our disposal towards an independent investigation.
In the morning of 12 February 2018 we went to the Coroner’s office in Kahrizak, south of Tehran, in the presence of two lawyers, Mr. Keykhosravi and Mr. Derafshan. At the Coroner’s, our lawyers were not allowed to accompany us inside to see the body and the autopsy report. We met with three gentlemen. They told us that an autopsy will automatically take place when a death occurs in prison. We were told that even an expedited autopsy report takes 4-6 weeks to release. Also, these gentlemen told us that should we insist on the presence of our lawyers, we need to go to the 27th District Court and obtain permission. This was the same court that three days earlier, on Friday 9th of February 2018, had summoned my mother purportedly to “meet with her husband.” Instead, they had interrogated and threatened her for three hours before announcing the death of his husband and having her sign a paper not to speak to the media, otherwise she would be put in prison. Similar threats of harming my dad had previously been issued from authorities and forced us to keep silent during the time he was in custody. From this Court, she had been taken to the Coroner to see the body of her husband.
In the 27th District Court, my brother and I met with a gentleman in the presence of our lawyers for 2 hours. The lawyers asked to see all documents — including the case file and closed-circuit video showing inside of the cell. I was the only member of the family to see the video. I want to stress this point because rumors have spread that my uncle has also seen it. None of my uncles have spoken to the media and any statement to this effect is null and void.
I won’t speak of the pain of seeing this video, but I will say that nothing in it is conclusive. The actual death is not recorded. All I could see is that my dad is nervous and restless. He is not himself. He paces the cell to and fro. I can say the man in the video (my dad) who goes into a different room, which we were told was the “bathroom,” by himself, is not in a sound psychological condition. Seven hours later a body is carried out of that room. The lawyers’ request to see the cell was refused. We filed a complaint right there. Also at the Court, I was shown pictures of a body during autopsy.
In the morning of 13 February 2018, my brother and I, along with several family members went to the Coroner’s and having met with the director, received the body. The death certificate we received states that the autopsy report is “pending.”
Our family’s wish, first and foremost, is to know why my father was arrested, the details of his interrogation, and to see any files associated with this case.
*This article was modified on February 15, 2018, to reflect that Seyed-Emami died in custody while he was being held in Evin Prison for interrogations.