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Iran Activists Demand Permit To Hold Protest For Long-Detained Ecologists

Seven of the jailed ecologists are pictured here and the person at bottom right is Kavous Seyed-Emami, who dies in prison in suspicious circumstances.

In a letter to the governor of Tehran, 72 ecology experts, university professors and activists have demanded a permit to hold a gathering in support of eight environmentalists who have been behind bars since last January, daily Hamshahri reported.

The ecologists are under "temporary detention" by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' intelligence organization.

Judicial officials have repeatedly promised to hold trials “soon”, but so far the legal process is shrouded in ambiguity.

The most well-known figure among the detained environmentalists, the founder of the Persian Wild Life Heritage Foundation, Iranian-Canadian Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, died inside Tehran’s notorious prison, Evin, in January under suspicious circumstances.

Prison and judicial authorities claimed Seyed-Emami had committed suicide after admitting to spying against Tehran. They also claimed a CCTV tape had documented the suicide. Later, the environmentalist’s son and at least two MPs disclosed that the claimed CCTV tape only showed Seyed-Emami entering a lavatory inside the prison and then his body lying on the floor.

Earlier, in a letter to the head of the Islamic Republic's judiciary, more than 1,000 experts and environmental activists had said, "The detained environmentalists were only in the service of protecting the country's nature. They were active in the framework of law and without expecting any gratitude or money", the 1,000 plus experts testified in their letter.

At least four of the current detainees might be sentenced to death.