Liberals draw fire for ‘highly disappointing’ response to Iranian-Canadian’s death in Tehran prison

As Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami was buried Tuesday in Iran, the Canadian government drew sharp criticism for failing to hold the Iranian regime to account for his suspicious death.

“They could have played a role in backing up the family’s demands for an autopsy and creating an international environment in which Iran would be accountable,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. “They did none of that, which was highly disappointing.”

Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole said the government response is part of “a troubling pattern on Iran” since the Liberals were elected in 2015 with a platform of normalizing ties with Iran. He said the silence from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been “deafening” during the latest Iranian protests and the subsequent crackdown that has led to thousands of arrests.

O’Toole said Canada should be working with allies to denounce Iran’s destabilizing role in the region and to demand a role in an independent autopsy of Seyed-Emami.

“Canadians can’t be lulled into a sense that this is a country we need to do more with,” he said. “Canadians should be very aware that it’s a destabilizing country and should be cautious about any dealing with it.”

Iranian-Canadian academic dies in Tehran prison after dissent crackdownIranian police arrest 29 women who removed veils in anti-hijab campaign known as ‘White Wednesdays’

Late Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that “we have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the Government of Iran and will continue to do so.

“A Canadian has died. We expect the Government of Iran to provide information and answers into the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. We will continue to use every means at Canada’s disposal to seek further information,” she said.

Human rights activists say it is common in Iran for authorities to pressure the families of people who die in custody to bury the dead quickly to avoid scrutiny.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi called Seyed-Emami a spy and said his death in Tehran’s Evin prison was a suicide, a claim questioned by his family. He is the third political prisoner this year whose death was ruled a suicide.

“Statements by Iranian judicial authorities show a lack of will to conduct impartial inquiries into Seyed-Emami’s death,” Tara Sepehri Far, Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch, said Tuesday. “We are concerned that the family has also been under pressure not to pursue an investigation. …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


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