Ban Iranian Leaders from Canada


payam-akhavanEditor’s Note:  The following essay by Prof Payam Akhavan appeared on September 2, 2009, in National Post and is reproduced in part below for the readers for Iran Press Watch.

By Payam Akhavan

In the aftermath of the brutal repression of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran, the evidence of systematic murder, rape, torture and unlawful detention of thousands of protestors continues to accumulate. Under international law, these large-scale atrocities constitute crimes against humanity for which the relevant Iranian officials bear individual criminal responsibility. How should Canada and the international community respond to a regime with such an appalling disregard for the human rights of its citizens? A first step is to recognize that leaders ordering or tolerating such atrocities are international outlaws who should be denied admission to Canada and other democracies.

The numerous horror stories emerging from Iran confirm a consistent pattern of extreme violence against those detained for participating in the protests. A severely traumatized 15-year-old boy recounts how he was arrested for wearing the green wrist-band of the opposition, and subjected to savage beatings, sexual humiliation and gang-rape for 20 days. Another youth describes the condition of his 24-year-old friend Amir Javadifar, who was arrested during the protests and tortured to death in custody: “He had a fractured skull, one of his eyes was almost crushed, all the nails on his toes had been extracted and all of his body was bruised.” Alas, there are now hundreds and hundreds of such accounts by victims and witnesses despite the censorship and intimidation of the regime.

There is little doubt that such abuses are part of a state-sanctioned policy of terrorizing supporters of the “Green Movement” that challenged President Ahmadinejad’s electoral victory in June. While 100 protest leaders are prosecuted in a farcical show trial and accused of a “foreign conspiracy,” nobody has been prosecuted for the heinous crimes against thousands of prisoners. One of the senior judiciary officials assigned to investigate these allegations is the notorious henchman, Saeed Mortazavi, implicated in the murder of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in July 2003 and in the torture of many others. Not surprisingly, he has dismissed reports of abuse as baseless. Another senior pro-regime figure has gone even further and called for the punishment of those who dare to expose these abominations. After reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi publicly stated that “female detainees were raped savagely” in prison, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami declared that Karroubi “deserves to be punished for libel.”

Read the rest of article at National Post


4 Responses

  1. Safa Mansouri

    September 2, 2009 7:29 pm

    I am afraid Canada loves IRI money too much to turn away Iranian leaders. Just see the magnitude of investments relatives of the same leaders have made throughout Canada.

  2. fe

    September 3, 2009 10:02 am

    I think additionally monies of iranian citizens or beneficient owners of companies over the limit of a modest personal use must be seized and frozen for paying the damage iranian criminals have done to its citizens, when their families living in canada sue iranien persons or government for not prosecuting such criminals. there is in principle no difference to other criminal organisations operating international.

  3. sb

    September 4, 2009 12:42 pm

    Abuse is abuse is abuse. Mr. Akhavan knows well that abusers cannot withstand exposure to the light of day. If we realize though his work that we are all of us, together, “involved in mankind,” then he has achieved a significant outcome. In this new century, within global society, we must call for justice, insist on justice, and be reminders of what justice inherent to human society looks like. Freedom from torture and state-sanctioned abuse is how that just society looks. Mr. Akhavan is a true inspiration.

  4. Azadeh

    September 29, 2009 1:35 pm

    Az dostdarane shoma dar iran.baraye AZADI dar iran talash mikonam,ma dar inja be noghte nazarate shoma vahean niyaz darim ke harekathaye sanjide va mosbate mardomi ra hadayat konim


Leave a Reply