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Iranian scholar and environmental activist dies in prison

Kavous Seyed-Emami was arrested by Iranian authorities on January 24 [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2018

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Respected environmental activist and academic Kavous Seyed-Emami has died in prison less than a month since he was arrested by Iranian authorities, his son has said.
An Iranian environmentalist has died in prison, his son said on Twitter, less than month since he was arrested.

Kavous Seyed-Emami, who also had Canadian citizenship, was managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect Iran's rare animals, and a US-trained scholar in sociology.

His son, singer Raam Emami, said on Twitter that his father was arrested on January 24, and that his mother had been informed of her husband's death on Friday.

"The news of my father's passing is impossible to fathom," Raam wrote. "I still can't believe this." 

On Instagram, Raam said Iranian authorities said Emami had committed suicide in jail.

The Iranian judiciary could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday evening, Reuters reported. Iranian authorities had not announced an arrest of Seyed-Emami, and his death was not confirmed by official sources.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said at least nine other staff members and executives of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation were arrested the same day as Seyed-Emami, citing information from a relative of one of those arrested.

Emami was reportedly held at Iran's notorious Evin prison.

According to Iran Wire, the Iranian Political Science Association said Seyed-Emami was "not only a unique scholar and a hard-working researcher in political science but a honorable and ethical man and, all in all, a unique personality".

Canada's foreign office said it was aware of the reports of Emami's death.

"Canadian consular officials in Ankara are working to gather additional information and are providing assistance to the family of the Canadian citizen," said spokeswoman Natasha Nystrom.

There is currently no Canadian embassy in the country and there are no official diplomatic relations between the two nations.

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