Canadian-Iranian environmentalist Kavous Seyed Emami urged Iranians to push for the change they wanted, rather than accept the way things were. His liberal message resonated, but now his sons must take up the cause. Seyed Emami, a Canadian-Iranian, died in a high-security prison on Feb. 9, weeks after he was arrested on accusations of spying for the US and Israel. After receiving a call to present himself to the prosecutor's office in Chalous on Jan. 24, Seyed Emami was grabbed by 15 people who emerged from cars, his sons tell the New York Times. He was handcuffed, hooded, driven around, and eventually landed at Evin Prison. A prosecutor would later show his sons a video of Seyed Emami entering a prison bathroom with a shirt around his neck, seven hours before his lifeless body was brought out.
Prosecutors say it was a suicide by hanging, but Ramin and Mehran Seyed Emami can't believe their father killed himself. The truth may never be known because, in what Amnesty International says "smacks of a deliberately orchestrated attempt to cover up any evidence of torture and possible murder," authorities did not allow an independent autopsy. In an op-ed published Thursday, the Washington Post editorial board argues Seyed Emami was just the latest victim of "Iran's repressive regime," which shows only "xenophobia" and "cruelty" in using "dual citizens as pawns in international diplomacy." Though spying charges against Seyed Emami referenced cameras set up "to monitor Iran's missile activities," his sons say they were part of his work with the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and only recorded endangered animals in the wild.