Iran’s academic community was in shock Sunday following the death of renowned environmentalist Kavous Seyed Emami, an Iranian-Canadian, who authorities claimed committed suicide in prison a fortnight after his arrest.
His death was announced by the family on social media late on Saturday.
“The news of my father’s passing is impossible to fathom,” wrote his son Ramin Seyed Emami, a well-known singer, on his Instagram page.
He said police had informed his mother on Friday. “They say he committed suicide. I still can’t believe this.”
The Iran Sociology Association, of which Emami was an active member, released a statement on Sunday questioning the claim that Emami took his own life.
“The information published about him is not believable and we expect officials to respond and to provide the public with information concerning his death,” the statement said. A source close to the organisation told AFP that the other seven members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation were still in jail.
Among them is Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American businessman who was a member of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation board.
Tahbaz comes from a wealthy family who made their fortune before the 1979 revolution and once owned the renowned Kayhan newspaper, which is now controlled by the Islamic authorities.
Also in detention is Hooman Jokar, who headed a programme to save the endangered Asiatic cheetah.—Agencies