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Iranian Court Upholds Acquittal of Agent in Murder of Photojournalist

An Iranian appeals court has upheld the acquittal of a government agent accused of killing Iranian-born Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi while she was in Iranian custody.

Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi's lawyer told reporters Wednesday in Tehran that the court ruled Ms. Kazemi's death was not premeditated. The lawyer also said the court has recommended a new investigation, saying there were some problems with the original one.

Ms. Kazemi died in July 2003, after she was arrested for photographing a student protest. Her family maintains that she was beaten to death by a prison official, but they do not believe it was Mr. Ahmadi.

Initially officials said she died from a stroke, but later acknowledged she was killed from a blow to the head. Ms. Kazemi's family says the Iranian government has blocked their efforts to find the real killer.