Seyed-Emami’s Family Lawyers Issue Statement Countering State TV Smear Campaign
Two lawyers representing the family of recently deceased Kavous Seyed-Emami have issued a statement countering the claims made in a short film that was aired on a state-funded TV program in Iran that accused Seyed-Emami of engaging in espionage.
The film was aired on February 13, 2018, the day Seyed-Emami was buried. An environmentalist and prominent academic in Iran who was also a Canadian citizen, Seyed-Emami died in Evin Prison in Tehran on February 9, 2018, under suspicious circumstances. At least seven environmentalists who were arrested around the same time as Seyed-Emami in late January 2018 remain detained and have also been accused of espionage.
The state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has a long history of broadcasting forced confessions and other productions aimed at smearing people facing politically motivated charges. In November 2017, the “20:30” news program—which aired the accusations about Seyed-Emami—also aired a film accusing Xiyue Wang, an American imprisoned in Iran, of partaking in espionage.
In the lawyer’s statement, which is produced below, the Seyed-Emami family’s lawyers debunk the accusations made in the film “with no credible evidence” to “undermine the reputation of this national treasure” and announce their intent to file a legal complaint against the show’s producers.
Monday, February 19, 2018
“The relevant authorities should be giving answers on the basis of their responsibility at the time of the tragedy, rather than creating a security climate, undermining the reputation of the deceased and hurting the feelings of his family.”
“The expectation is that judicial authorities investigating this case will act firmly and without bias according to their legal duties in helping to clarify the why and how of this terrible national tragedy.”
As lawyers for the Seyed-Emami family and in view of what has occurred, we find it necessary to give the following statement:
1- From the moment we accepted the case regarding the death of the late Dr. Kavous Seyed-Emami, we have made a serious effort to seek the truth to the extent possible and we hope to remain committed to this case until the very end and strive to be responsive to the respected family and the dear people of Iran.
2- In recent days we have witnessed the publication of a short, insulting film about the late Dr. Seyed-Emami by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) organization in violation of our laws and several articles of the Constitution, which failed to take into account the most obvious ethical or humanitarian principles. Accordingly, we will file a judicial complaint against the producers of the 20:30 television program. This offensive film, which aired on the night Dr. Seyed-Emami was buried, not only hurt the feelings of the grieving family but also the feelings of the great majority of the Iranian people. It’s destructive and dubious objective was to demonize and demoralize environmental activists. Therefore, at this juncture we feel it necessary to give a brief explanation about the film before going into detail in our complaint:
The producers of the film, who had no credible evidence against the late Seyed-Emami, resorted to illegal means and used his private family photos as well as other images indicative of his respected status as a credible international researcher to undermine the reputation of this national treasure.
The picture painted by the malicious producers of this film is completely against the humble and modest character of this great noble man, who made efforts to be alongside youths and encourage them to protect the country’s environmental wealth on the basis of national and ethical foundations.
The film is so unprofessional that it actually works against its producers. In one part it claims that environmental activists were “under intelligence surveillance for the past few years” as they gathered sensitive military information about a missile site. This raises a serious question: if the military information was so important, why did the responsible officials… keep quiet about it for all these years and allow the information to leave the country? Certainly, if the information was as important as claimed, then those who knowingly allowed it to be sent abroad also share criminal responsibility.
This film has many legal and logical faults, which we will raise in our complaint to the Culture and Media Court.
3- As we take up Dr. Seyed-Emami’s case with the judiciary’s criminal affairs branch in Tehran, we will file a motion to seek his security file in order to get a clearer picture of this incident. Because of the limitations in the country’s laws, the absence of a lawyer at the initial stages of the investigations undermines its credibility.
4- Since the current case is tied to those of other detained environmentalists and will determine their fate as well, we ask their families to ignore any possible fears and ask lawyers to immediately look into their situation in order to get a better grasp of their condition and take more substantive steps.
5- Given the national aspects of this matter, and the fact that the great nation of Iran has lost a great treasure who was engaged in constructive planning to save the country’s environment, and while the perpetrators of this national tragedy are trying to muddy the waters instead of owning up to the judicial authorities, a large group of our colleagues has announced their readiness to assist in various legal aspects of this case and file necessary judicial motions, for which we are grateful in advance.
6- At the present time, information will be disseminated by the family of the deceased on Telegram as well as by his son, Mr. Ramin Seyed-Emami, on Instagram. Information will also be made public through the lawyers. Any news based on these two sources has the family’s approval.
In subsequent statements, we will inform our dear compatriots of every step of this process.
The lawyers of the late Kavous Seyed-Emami’s family
Arash Keykhosravi and Payam Derafshan