MONTREAL Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi showed signs of being savagely beaten when she was brought to a Tehran hospital in 2003, said an emergency room doctor on duty at the time.
Shahram Azam, a former staff physician in Iran's defence ministry, said he examined Kazemi, 54, early on June 27, 2003, according to reports published in the Globe and Mail and Montreal's La Presse.
Azam, who recently received political asylum in Canada, intends to tell his story at a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday.
Kazemi, an Iranian-born Montrealer, had been arrested while photographing a demonstration outside Tehran's Evin prison. She died in Iranian custody in July 2003. Iran's government admitted she'd been beaten, but maintains her death was accidental. An Iranian security agent was charged and acquitted of killing her.
According to Azam, who now lives in Canada, Kazemi's entire body had strange markings all over it.
Azam described massive bruising around her head and ears. Her skull had been fractured and her nose was broken. Two fingers were also broken, and were missing fingernails.
Kazemi also had severe abdominal bruising and showed evidence of being flogged on the legs. There were also signs of a "very brutal rape," according to the doctor.
Azam fled Iran last August, going first to Finland, then Sweden, before contacting Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi. With the help of Canadian lawyers, Hachemi helped Azam and his family get to Canada.
This month, Azam received landed-immigrant status as a refugee sponsored by the Canadian government.
Azam told the Globe he wants to refocus worldwide attention on Kazemi's case. He hopes it will ultimately lead to the "indictment" of Iran's Islamic Republic.