Canadian Press: Iran on Sunday said Canada was following the "wrong approach" in the case of an Iranian-born Canadian photojournalist who died while in Iranian custody. Canada has demanded an international forensic examination to determine the cause of Zahra Kazemi's death.
Canadian Press

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran on Sunday said Canada was following the "wrong approach" in the case of an Iranian-born Canadian photojournalist who died while in Iranian custody.

Canada has demanded an international forensic examination to determine the cause of Zahra Kazemi's death.

"Unfortunately Canada has been following a wrong approach from the very beginning, and caused things to get more complicated," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a weekly press conference.

"From the very beginning, the Canadians should have accepted that Mrs. Kazemi is an Iranian citizen. Demands by the Canadians have to be answered by Iran's judiciary," he said.

Iran's judiciary was expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday and announce a decision on the request.

Also Sunday, lawyers representing Kazemi's mother, Ezzat Ebrahimi, called for a fresh investigation into the death.

"According to the law, the file must be referred to a special interrogator who acts outside the authority of the Tehran Justice Department ... in order to pave the way for revealing the truth and punishing the masterminds (of the death)," said the petition to the judiciary, quoted by the official Iranian news agency.

In their petition, the lawyers -- led by Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi -- accused the court of ignoring evidence about the death as well as reports of the special presidential committee and the Intelligence Ministry.

Kazemi, a 54-year-old Canadian freelance journalist of Iranian origin, died in July 2003, several days after being arrested for taking photos of a demonstration outside a Tehran prison.

Iranian officials say the Montreal photojournalist died after a fracturing her skull in a fall.

Canada's demands for an independent investigation came after an Iranian doctor claimed that he examined Kazemi in a military hospital in Tehran and said that she was tortured to death.

Doctor Shahram Azam fled to Canada and last month held a news conference to reveal details of brutal injuries inflicted on the Iranian-Canadian citizen.

Azam told of bruises, welts and fractures that he said could only have been caused by methodical torture and rape.

Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew demanded an international forensic examination, saying Ottawa is fed up with Iran's "lies" and "coverups."

Iranian officials have denied that Azam, ever worked in any Iranian hospital and said his claims were false.