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Iranian Official Charged in Death of Canadian Journalist - 2003-09-22

An Iranian intelligence ministry official has been charged in the death of a Canadian photojournalist, who died in July as the result of head injuries officials say she sustained while in police custody.

The judge heading the inquiry into the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi charged an unnamed Intelligence ministry official with semi-premeditated murder.

Ms. Kazemi was arrested in June while taking photographs outside a prison in Tehran. On July 10, she died in a Tehran hospital from head injures that Iranian officials said occurred while she was in custody.

The 54-year-old journalist had undergone 77 hours of interrogation before being rushed to the intensive care unit of an area hospital.

Initially, the prosecutor's office said Ms. Kazemi died of a stroke, but a commission appointed by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to investigate the murder said she died as the result of blows to the head.

The judge also ruled Monday that a second intelligence agent would not face any charges related to the death of the photojournalist. And he ruled that no government organization planned the murder.