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Intelligence Agents Storm The House Of Environmentalist Who Died In Detention

Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian professor, is pictured in Ammameh, Iran, in this 2017 handout photo obtained by Reuters February 14, 2018.
Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian professor, is pictured in Ammameh, Iran, in this 2017 handout photo obtained by Reuters February 14, 2018.

Intelligence agents have stormed the residence of an environmentalist who suspiciously died behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison last February.

Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian Canadian sociologist, the founder of Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF) and environmental activist, was arrested January 24 along with at least fourteen other activists. Prison officials told his family February 8 that he had committed suicide.

Seyed-Emami was charged by the Islamic Republic’s judiciary with espionage in favor of “enemies” of the Islamic Republic.

International human rights organizations, including the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and London Based Amnesty International (AI), have called upon the Iranian authorities to allow an independent investigation into the case.

“The authorities’ refusal to allow an independent investigation into the extremely suspicious death of Dr. Seyed-Emami smacks of a deliberately orchestrated attempt to cover up any evidence of torture and possible murder. He was detained in Evin prison, where detainees are held under constant surveillance,” AI said in a statement.

Citing Seyed-Emami’s son and attorney, Tehran’s outspoken MP, Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted, “Intelligence agents stormed Kavous Seyyed-Emami’s house on Monday to ‘shoot a film’, while Iran and Portugal national soccer sides were playing against each other.”

According to Sadeghi, “Numerous intelligence agents, carrying several large boxes, stormed Seyed-Emami’s house” and maintained that they had a warrant to use the residence as the location for shooting a film, titled “The Downfall”.

During the nerve-breaking match between Iran and Portugal national soccer sides, in a post on his Instagram account Ramin Seyed-Emami reported, “Twenty intelligence agents, carrying six large boxes have stormed our house [in Tehran].”

Furthermore, he wrote, “Without letting anybody to watch them, the intelligence agents took the large boxes to the basement of my father’s house.”

Seyed-Emami’s attorney, Payam Derafshan was called in, but he was not allowed to enter the house.

Referring to Sadeghi’s tweet and the mysterious boxes carried by the intelligence agents, Tehran’s Revolution and Public Prosecutor-General, Abbas Ja’fari Dolatabadi said on Tuesday, June 26, “I know nothing about the boxes, but they [the agents] definitely have had a warrant for doing what they did.”

The agents who stormed Seyed-Emami’s house are apparently affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Intelligence Organization which is reportedly responsible for the recent detention of scores of environmentalists across Iran.

According to the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, the Intelligence Ministry, under President Hassan Rouhani’s supervision, is the “sole state department responsible for espionage and counterespionage” operations.

The Ministry’s “experts” have repeatedly insisted that there are no evidence proving Seyed-Emami and his fellow environmentalists were involved in espionage.

Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic’s judiciary, in tandem with IRGC, still affirm that the detained environmentalists, including Seyed-Emami, are guilty of espionage.

IRGC’s intelligence unit was promoted to the level of an “Organization” by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after long lasting, widespread and deadly protests against reelection of the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

However, according to Tehran’s outspoken MPs, Ali Motahari and Mahmoud Sadeghi, neither judiciary, nor IRGC’s Intelligence Organization have so far tabled any evidence concerning the environmentalists’ involvement in espionage.

Furthermore, as Ramin Seyed-Emami has pointed out in several posts in social media, the intelligence agents have been busy intimidating his mother, who has no connection with the lawsuit against Professor Seyed-Emami.

IRAN -- Iranian-Canadian professor Kavous Seyed-Emami and his wife Maryam Mombeini pose in an unidentified place in Iran, undated
IRAN -- Iranian-Canadian professor Kavous Seyed-Emami and his wife Maryam Mombeini pose in an unidentified place in Iran, undated

Maryam Mombeini, Seyed-Emami’s Iranian-Canadian wife has been barred from leaving Iran, joining her family in Canada.

“The Islamic Republic’s Prosecutor-General office is responsible for barring people from leaving the country,” Seyed-Emamis’ attorney, Payam Derafshan told Radio Farda, adding, “Mombeini’s name is not on the list of people officially barred from leaving the country. Who has exactly barred her from leaving Iran is still a mystery”

Ramin, one of the sons of Seyed-Emami and Mombeini, says his mother has been living alone since the authorities barred her from leaving Iran on March 7.

“The trauma stemming from her husband’s death on February 8 has caused her extreme physiological distress,” said Ramin Seyed-Emami, who lives in Vancouver, adding, “She has been going through so much emotionally and physically. And she doesn’t have her family to support her through this devastating time.”

In his latest comment in social media, Ramin Seyed-Emami disclosed on Monday, June 25, “My mother, recently released from hospital, was taken to an unknown location on Sunday {June 24] and interrogated for four hours.”

Immediately after the suspicious death of Seyed-Emami behind bars, President Hassan Rouhani appointed a committee to investigate recent “regrettable incidents” at detention centers in Iran, an announcement on his official website said on February 14.

The members of the committee are the interior, intelligence, and justice ministers, as well as the deputy president for legal affairs.

The committee has not yet published a single report concerning their investigation.

Investigation Into Environmentalist’s Prison Death ‘Incomplete’

Iranian Environmental Activist 'Commits Suicide' in Custody