A year after the Islamic Republic authorities claimed that a prominent Iranian-Canadian environmentalist and university professor had committed suicide in prison; the Judiciary spokesman says that he does not know anything about the suicide.
In January 2018, the intelligence organ of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard arrested several ecologists, chief among them Kavous Seyed Emami who days later died in prison under suspicious circumstances.
Responding to a question at his weekly press briefing on Sunday, February 17, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, said, "I do not know whether he was the ringleader of the [detained] environmentalists, and committed suicide behind bars, or not."
Since January 2018, at least eight environmentalists and colleagues of Seyed Emami have been charged with spying, "corruption on Earth", and arrested in Iran even though the country’s own Intelligence Ministry has repeatedly insisted there’s no evidence to support the charges the detainees are facing.
The judiciary at the time said the 63-year-old managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which works to protect endangered animals and raise public awareness about the environment in Iran, had committed suicide in prison.
The claim has been questioned by his family and acquaintances.
The trial of the eight arrested colleagues of Seyed-Emami began January 30 this year behind closed doors.
The environmentalists were not allowed access to their own legal counsel and were instead forced to choose from a court approved list of defense attorneys.