Iran: August 2, 2003

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 A dead journalist has the local Islamic conservatives on the defensive and running for cover. Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, who was arrested on June 23rd, and reported dead less than a month later, was buried in Iran without her son's permission. The son wanted his mother's body returned to Canada for burial, and an autopsy to determine cause of death. The police accused Kazemi of illegally taking pictures outside of a prison. Police apparently beat and killed Kazemi and tried to cover it up. The Canadian, and world, press got on to the story, Canada withdrew its ambassador and this forced the government to investigate the matter. Five members of the security services have been arrested and the government admits that Kazemi was killed by a blow to the head.  

July 28, 2003: Despite government bans on pilgrimages to the Shia holy places in southern Iraq, thousands continue to cross the border illegally. At least a hundred of these pilgrims have died from landmines and heat stroke so far. There are also bandits operating on the Iraqi side of the border, who rob and abuse pilgrims. 

 

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