Raam Emami, Seyed-Emami’s son, does not believe he has taken his own life. As well, his colleagues in Iran’s academic community are in shock. Activists believe it is related to the suspicious deaths among detainees that have also been labelled as suicide. In fact, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a New York-based lobby group, also told the BBC the Iranian authorities had increased their targeting of dual nationals in Iran.

According to ILNA news agency, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said, “He was one of the defendants in a spying case and unfortunately he committed suicide in prison since he knew that many had made confessions against him and because of his own confessions.”

On Friday, the Iranian authorities told Mr Seyed-Emami’s wife he had died in Evin prison.

“The news of my father’s passing is impossible to fathom,” Raam Emami said in social media posts. “They say he committed suicide. I still can’t believe this.”

It has been reported that the Iranian authorities have refused to release the body to his family unless there is an immediate burial and no attempt to conduct an independent autopsy.

Responding to this allegation, Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty international’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa said, “The authorities’ refusal to allow an independent investigation into the extremely suspicious death of Dr Seyed-Emami smacks of a deliberately orchestrated attempt to cover up any evidence of torture and possible murder. He was detained in Evin prison where detainees are held under constant surveillance and stripped of all personal possessions. It would have been near impossible for him to commit suicide.” She added, “We are deeply concerned that Dr Seyed-Emami’s body bears incriminating signs of torture and other clues to the reasons for his death. We call on the Canadian government and the international community to continue to place pressure on the Iranian authorities to allow an independent investigation into the circumstances of Dr Seyed-Emami’s death in accordance with international standards. Those responsible, including any individual with command responsibility, must be brought to justice.”

Mughrabi said further, “The mounting deaths in custody and the authorities’ refusal to allow independent and transparent investigations are deeply troubling illustrations of the utter contempt for human life and accountability that exists in the Iranian criminal justice system today.”

On February 11th, Tehran’s Chief Prosecutor issued a statement saying that Kavous Seyed-Emami was driven to suicide by “confessions” that he had made and the incriminating statements others had made against him.

Seyed-Emami’s death is the third to be declared a suicide in detention by Iranian authorities following the December 2017 protests.