Iran probes doctor's death at detention centre
A doctor who worked at the Kahrizak detention centre, closed after the deaths there of protesters against June's disputed election results, died in "suspicious" circumstances, Iranian media said this week, Reuters reported.
Iran's parliament discussed the death last week of Ramin Pourandarjani, the semi-official Mehr news agency said on Tuesday. A reformist website said last week the death was initially thought to be a result of suicide.
"His medical student classmates have asked us to follow up on the suspicious death of this doctor," the agency quoted Masoud Pezeshkian, a member of parliament's health committee, as saying.
"We have asked the coroner's office to report on his cause of death by performing an autopsy. The cause of death cannot be heart arrest since his age and previous medical record rule that out."
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the closure of the Kahrizak centre south of Tehran in July after at least three people died in custody there and widespread anger erupted as news spread of conditions in the jail.
State news agency IRNA said on Tuesday a parliamentary committee would present a report on the centre, including death of the doctor. It quoted Ali Motahari, a member of a task force charged with investigating the post-election incidents.
Thousands of people were arrested in protests after the June presidential election that re-elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Opposition pro-reform candidates said the vote was fraudulent, a charge Khamenei and the government has rejected.
Reformist websites, Mowjcamp and Norooz, reporting on Pourandarjani's death in recent days, have questioned the authenticity of the suicide claim.
"There is no way the doctor could have committed suicide in view of his high spirit, strong religious faith, an emotional link to his family and society as well as the talks he had the night before the incident to his family and friends," the reformist Norooz website said.
Semi-official news agency ILNA said on Tuesday that police had opened a file at Tehran's criminal court over the death of Pourandarjani, who was serving compulsory military service as a doctor at the detention centre.
The protests this year have formed the toughest domestic test to Iranian authorities since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Ahmadinejad, with Khamenei's backing, has championed Iran's nuclear energy programme, taking the country into a diplomatic conflict with the United States and its allies who fear the programme could allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.
Tehran denies any such intention but could face further U.N. sanctions on critical gasoline imports if a deal is not reached with world powers on uranium enrichment.