IRAN: Canadian on death row gets unanimous support from Ottawa

31 May

Source: Toronto Star
This man only came to visit his elderly mother in Tehran. Then the police arrest him and his brother. His brother dies during interrogation and he is charged with espionage. He has been on death row for 5 years. He deserves all of our support, as the Islamic regime is corrupt and has a deplorable humans rights record.


Ottawa has issued its strongest call for the release of a Canadian who is on death row in Iran.

Hamid Ghassemi-Shall has been detained in Iran since May 2008 and was sentenced to death in November 2009. His Toronto wife is fighting for his release.

Hamid Ghassemi-Shall

“This House urgently appeals to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to grant clemency to Hamid

Ghassemi-Shall on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, calls for his release and return to his family and spouse in Canada, and urges Iran to reverse its current course and to adhere to its international human rights obligations,” said a statement read by Diane Ablonczy, the minister responsible for consular affairs.

The statement was unanimously endorsed by the House of Commons on Wednesday, as Ghassemi-Shall entered his fifth year inside Iran’s grim Evin Prison, awaiting execution on espionage charges.

In Toronto, his wife, Antonella Mega, welcomed the statement, saying: “I remain hopeful, and appreciate the help of everyone who has come forward.”

Ghassemi-Shall, a Toronto shoe salesman, was arrested in 2008 while visiting his elderly mother in Tehran. His brother Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, detained at the same time, died after interrogation. Iran claimed the two were involved in a conspiracy against the government, and a court pronounced a death sentence against Hamid.

Officials in Canada, Britain and the U.S. have protested the sentence, and Ghassemi-Shall was adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.

Meanwhile, executions in Iran have escalated, and more than 600 condemned prisoners have died in the past year.

Relations between Ottawa and Tehran have soured since the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in 2003 in Evin prison. The Harper government recently closed Canada’s visa office in Tehran, a move Iran’s Ottawa embassy said was seen by the Iranian community as “unfriendly and unfair.”

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Canada, Iran


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