Kazemi, a freelance photojournalist with dual Iranian-Canadian nationality, was arrested on June 23 while taking photos outside Tehran's Evin prison during an earlier period of reformist unrest in Tehran, also ruthlessly repressed.
The first news of what happened to Kazemi came in a statement from Mr Mortazavi, which said that the 54-year-old had died accidentally of a stroke while being interrogated. Two days later a contradictory statement was issued, saying that she had fallen and hit her head.
On July 16 Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the Vice-President of Iran, admitted that Kazemi had in fact died of a fractured skull after being beaten.
It was regarded a black joke when, in 2006, Iran selected Mr Mortazavi as part of a delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Human Rights Watch asked unsuccessfully for him to be withdrawn, or for other countries to refuse to meet the Iran delegation until his removal.