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Controversial Kazemi Trial Halted In Iran

18 July 2004 -- Iran's judiciary today abruptly ended hearings into last year's killing of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, triggering protests from lawyers of the victim's family.

What prompted the judges to halt the session was not immediately clear.

Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who represents Kazemi's family, walked out of the courtroom in protest.

Earlier today, western diplomats and journalists were barred from attending the trial of the security agent accused of killing Kazemi.

The 54-year-old freelance photographer died from a brain hemorrhage a year ago while in custody for taking pictures outside Tehran's Evin prison. The security agent blamed for her death has pleaded not guilty.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has said he believes the man is innocent and blamed the conservative judiciary for failing to look for other suspects.