Iran's ex-intelligence minister slams handling of prison death

An ex-intelligence minister in Iran today criticised the handling of an environmentalist's death in prison, saying the public would not believe he was a spy unless the case was properly handled. Ali Younessi, who was intelligence minister under reformist president Mohammad Khatami between 2000 and 2005, shone a rare light on the turf war between Iran's multiple security agencies in his interview with the daily Iran newspaper. He was referring to Kavous Seyed Emami, 63, the Iranian-Canadian citizen who founded the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation. He died in prison this month after being arrested along with seven members of his NGO on espionage charges. "Unfortunately the intelligence ministry has no jurisdiction over this case," said Younessi, who now serves as an advisor to President Hassan Rouhani on minority religious affairs.

"I believe the case should be given to the intelligence ministry... Given the events that have occurred, if a competent and legal agency does not intervene and doesn't give its opinion on the dead individual or those under arrest, public opinion will not believe they are spies even if they are convicted."

The authorities say Emami committed suicide, but the family have questioned the verdict and say they were threatened by security forces.

Iran has a wide array of security agencies, which often act independently of each other and are responsible to competing centres of power.

Younessi did not name the agency running the case, but the Revolutionary Guards run a powerful intelligence service that is separate from the government's intelligence ministry.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel