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Round-Up Of Environmentalists Continues With The Arrest Of A Top Official

Kaveh Madani, deputy of environmental department arrested.
Kaveh Madani, deputy of environmental department arrested.

Mahmoud Sadeqi, an outspoken member of the Iranian parliament says that the deputy chief of Iran’s Department of Environment, Kaveh Madani, has been arrested.

In a February 11 tweet, Sadeqi quoted Department of Environment Chief Isa Kalantari as confirming that his deputy, Kaveh Madani, has been arrested.

Madani, a former lecturer at the Imperial College of London has been the Department of Environment’s deputy chief for international affairs and innovation since September 2017.

Madani was the deputy chairman of the Third UN Environment Forum’s Asia and Oceania group in Nairobi in November.

Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported some eight weeks ago that the European Union for Geo-Sciences has introduced Madani as one of Europe’s four top scientists in 2016.

Reports about Madani’s arrest follows the detention of several environmental activists in Iran during recent weeks and the controversial death in custody of one of them, Dr. Kavous Seyed-Emami.

Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) quoted Tehran Province Justice Administration Chief Gholamhossein Esmaili on February 10 as saying “A number of individuals who collected intelligence to hand over to foreigners have been arrested,” adding that “more arrests might be under way.”

Reactions to death of scholar in custody continue

Meanwhile reactions to the controversial death of Kavous Emami at a Tehran prison continued all day on Sunday.

Iranian Sociologist Kavous Seyed-Emami who has died in custody just two weeks after his arrest on January 24, 2018.
Iranian Sociologist Kavous Seyed-Emami who has died in custody just two weeks after his arrest on January 24, 2018.

​Prison officials have said that Emami has committed suicide in jail.

According to the website of Imam Sadeq University, where he used to work, he had studied in the United States and graduated in Sociology with a Ph. D. from the University of Oregon in 1991.

Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeqi told ILNA that he has enquired about the death in a contact with Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, but did not get any convincing response.

Sadeqi also quoted a deputy intelligence minister as saying that Emami was not arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and that another intelligence organization must have been involved in the case.

Sadeqi added that he would follow the case at the Majles on Monday 12.

In the meantime, in an attempt to explain Emami’s death, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi has said that the scholar “had made some confession and knew that others have also made confessions against him, so unfortunately he committed suicide in jail.”

An Iranian journalist in Belgium, Hanif Mazroui, told Radio Farda that more than a few people have died in custody in Iran during the past two months and many more in recent years. He said Iranian security officials’ claims about the cases of “suicide” in custody were “laughable.”

Mazrui added that Iranian Judiciary officials lack independence and their opinion about the cause of inmates’ death cannot be verified. He called for an international investigation into these controversial cases.

Meanwhile, AFP quoted an Iranian university lecturer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as saying that Emami had been summoned to intelligence organizations several times prior to his arrest and following a visit to Canada.

The report did not identify the intelligence organization that held Emamy in custody. However, the two main intelligence organizations in Iran are the Rouhani-administration-controlled Intelligence Ministry, and the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization which is close to Khamenei’s office. Both of these organizations have an ill reputation for their heavy-handed treatment of suspects.