Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, died four months ago on July 11 after being more than two weeks in a coma caused by lethal blows to her head during interrogations that followed her arrest while taking photos in front of Tehran's main prison, Evin. All that went wrong in those deadly events, from Kazemi's detention on an order by Tehran's General Prosecuter, Judge Saeed Mortazavi [in google news], to his later attempts at concealing the cause of death by either tampering with the outgoing news (he announced a brain stroke as the cause of death in the beginning) or directly threatening other officials or journalists, is inseparably attached to the Islamic Repulic judiciary system, the very entity responsible for bringing the agents of the crime to justice—so far.
Shortly after Shirin Ebadi was selected as 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, word was spread that she had been contacted by Kazemi's family to advocate their case in court, and a few days later she officially accepted to do so. However, Stephan Hachemi, the son of Zahra Kazemi, who lives in Montreal, Canada, quickly rejected Ebadi's representation, saying he was not going to "recognize the legitimacy of their [Iranian government] justice."
Shirin Ebadi is a legal activist, a lawyer who believes genuinely in the rule of law. She wears hijab in Iran since it is by law mandatory, but gives interviews bare-headed while abroad. Her form of activism is in line with the reformists' political agenda who won the presidential elections in 1997: exhausting all the possibilites of the existing laws in a struggle to provide them with a more inclusive range and a more tolerant language and practice. The practical outcome has been, so far, minimal. The same Judge Mortazavi who would, as a special press judge, bluntly close down tens of reformist newspapers overnight now, as a general prosecutor, literally dictates the few existing ones what to typeset as their first titles. He was even chosen by the head of the judiciary system to preside over Kazemi's case, in which he was himself a natural suspect, before handing it over to another judge under extreme pressure. However, Ms. Ebadi's methods seem to be the only non-violent way towards more freedoms, or at least less coercion.
Stephan Hachemi, on the other hand, is an ordinary Canadian citizen, who has lost a mother and been denied entry by the Iranian government to her mother's homeland for a last farewell as such. He has demanded two simple demands all along: the return of his mother's body to Canada and a fair mutilateral trial. His resources are limited to the Canadian government's and international commuintie's political pressure on Iran. Although Canada recalled her ambassador to Tehran in protest shortly after Kazemi's death, but the ambassador's eventual return, "to continue to exert pressure on Tehran," and a relative quiet in the media have made it hard to believe that there is enough pressure on Tehran, or enough momentum in the Canadian administration to pursue the case.
Thus, the question remains as to which is the right path: Ms. Ebadi's wrestling with the prudent, over-powerful judiciary system of the Islamic Republic, or Mr. Hachemi's principal stance for an internationally acceptable trial? Which one, ultimately, will do justice to Ms. Kazemi's lost life and her son's shattered hopes, as well as those of all other victims of a self-revering just-ice system?