Widow of Iranian-Canadian who died in Tehran prison, back in Canada

Iranian-Canadian environmentalist Kavous Seyed Emami is pictured in a handout photograph released by his family in February 2018 (AFP Photo/HANDOUT)

Ottawa (AFP) - The widow of an Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist who died in prison in Tehran, has returned to Canada after being held for 18 months, officials said Friday.

Maryam Mombeini is the widow of Kavous Seyed Emami, who died in prison in February 2018 less than a month after his arrest.

Seyed Emami was accused of spying for Israel and the United States. Iranian authorities said he committed suicide in his cell, but this has been disputed by the family.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted that she was relieved that Mombeini was back home.

"You have all shown tremendous bravery in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I am thinking of you today!" she wrote.

Mombeini, who had been prevented from leaving Iran since March 2018, joined family in Vancouver on Thursday, her son Ramin said on Twitter.

Seyed Emami was the second Iranian-Canadian to die in an Iranian jail, following the 2003 death of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was arrested while taking pictures in front of Evin prison in Tehran.

Canada cut diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012.

Several foreigners, mostly dual nationals, are being held in Iran. Their arrests for a range of reasons have increased since the United States unilaterally left the Iranian nuclear agreement in May 2018.

Iran, which does not recognize dual nationality, does not generally grant consular access to binational detainees.