Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag is one of a growing group of Canadian MPs agreeing to sponsor Iranians slated for execution in their homeland for opposition to the government.
Chilliwack resident and former Iranian torture victim Ghazaleh Nozamani is among several individuals and Iran-connected organizations asking Canadian Members of Parliament (MPs) to sponsor Iranian detainees in an effort to stop their executions. Canada cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012 and expelled Iran’s diplomats.
The prisoners were arrested during nationwide freedom protests that broke out in September 2022, following the killing in state custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini.
Since then, hundreds of peaceful protesters have been killed by state security forces and thousands arrested, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran.
The original group of about nine MPs has now expanded to include all the Liberal MPs in B.C. – a total of 15.
In response to the request from Nozamani and other Iranian groups in Canada, nine federal Liberal MPs stepped up to sponsor detainees.
In a recent press release, the MPs explained the political sponsorship, and each listed at least two Iranians for whom they are speaking up.
Dr. Farhad Meysami
Aldag is endorsing Dr. Farhad Meysami and Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22. As recently as this week, there were petitions and protests against the pending execution of Ghobadlou.
“While we focus on having the execution orders on Mohammad Ghobadlou stopped, we can’t forget Dr. Farhad Meysami has been imprisoned since 2018. It’s also reported he has been tortured repeatedly,” the MP said on his social media.
The Canadian MPs have joined political counterparts in Europe lobbying to stop the executions by shining a public spotlight on the Iranian regime that is jailing and executing those who oppose it. The youngest detainees the Canadian MPs are speaking about are 16 and 17 years of age.
“I am horrified that Mohammad Ghobadlou is being prepared to be executed. This is abhorrent. Iran’s brutality against its own people must stop. We oppose the death penalty for all people. The world is watching,” the MP noted.
🚨🚨🚨— John Aldag (@jwaldag) January 10, 2023
Are there any updates about #MohammadGhobadlou. I haven't heard if he is still in isolation. Please post updates in the comments. The Islamic Republic needs to release him and other prisoners immediately. @ICHRI @IranCanadaHCP @Amirabdolahian @Gharibabadi pic.twitter.com/AW0JjOJmqZ
Aldag shared an Amnesty International video of Ghobadlou’s mother pleading for her child’s life.
“Any parent can share the pain and anguish of Mohammad Ghobadlou’s mother,” Aldag Tweeted. “She is in the video pleading for her son to be released. Stop executions in Iran and release these people. The Islamic Republic of Iran must stop jailing anyone who wants to voice their opinion.”
Amnesty International said Ghobadlou has been sentenced to execution but it has not yet been carried out.
“Mohammad Ghobadlou is at grave risk of execution after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 2 January 2023,” the human rights organization said online. “He was sentenced to death for ‘spreading corruption on earth’ (efsad-e fel arz) after a fast-tracked, grossly unfair sham trial before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The prosecution relied on torture-tainted ‘confessions’ to convict him of running over officials with a car, killing one and injuring others. Mohammad Ghobadlou was also tried before a criminal court in Tehran on charges stemming from the same alleged acts, in contravention of the protection against double jeopardy. If convicted, he could receive a second death sentence.”
Dr. Meysami was arrested in September 2018 for peacefully protesting for women’s rights, and charged with “assembly and collusion against national security with the intention to incite women to appear in public with bare heads,” “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the hijab as an indispensable Islamic principle,” according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran.
– With files from the Chilliwack Progress
Joint statement on our political endorsement of individuals under threat from the Iranian Regime
December 31, 2022
We, as individual Members of Parliament from British Columbia, Canada, hereby undertake the political sponsorship of a list of individual detainees who are currently under threat by the government of Iran. Community members have called for our commitment to help prevent the executions of those condemned to death, or their ongoing torture and imprisonment by the Iranian regime.
We know that endorsements by elected officials in Europe have already brought the plight of detainees to the forefront and have declared to the regime that they are being watched – that there are advocates keeping track of the lives and well-being of many of the victims of the violent crackdowns imposed by the ruling regime.
As many of you are acutely aware, the Iranian regime’s brutality against its own people – in particular, women and girls – is unrelenting, and the situation is worsening. Tens of thousands of Iran’s own citizens are imprisoned for protesting the regime’s violence and egregious human rights violations. Many hundreds have been killed, including numerous children.
Our support for the Iranian people to live their lives free from persecution is unwavering. We hear their powerful voices, and we will continue to amplify them wherever we can. That is why we are releasing this statement today.
We voice together that we are appalled by Iran’s wrongful imprisonment and execution of protestors.
We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances for all people, everywhere. On December 16, Canada introduced a resolution to reaffirm our commitment to human rights for the people of Iran and condemn the application of the death penalty, a resolution that the UN General Assembly adopted.
We call on Iran to immediately establish a moratorium to halt all executions and to end this brutal and inhumane punishment.
As individual Canadian Members of Parliament, we commit to speaking the names of these detainees, to remind the Iranian government that we are watching, that the world is watching, and that we condemn Iran’s ongoing human rights violations and threats to individual freedoms as well as regional peace and security.
Through research via organizations tasked with monitoring human rights violations and the Iranian regime, we have chosen a number of physicians and medical students targeted for treating those injured in protests, or for supporting the groundswell of voices rising against the regime. We have also chosen some of the young people who have been so deliberately targeted with very severe penalties for raising their voices.
These individuals, named below, are valued and are in our thoughts as they suffer at the hands of this brutal regime. These individuals will be followed on our social media, and we will remind those in power that they must not flagrantly ignore universal human rights, international laws and individual freedoms that must be affirmed and assured for every person.
We remind the Iranian regime that we will not lend credence to sham trials, to invented charges and to a lack of legal representation for these individuals and many others presently imprisoned by their own government.
We ask that Canadians stand strong and united in our support of international conventions on human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls, and rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.
In this resolve, we endorse the following Iranian detainees:
o John Aldag: endorsing Dr. Farhad Meysami, and Mohammad Ghobadlou
o Terry Beech: endorsing Iman Navabi – Surgery Resident, and Fahimeh Karimi, mother of three
o Hedy Fry: endorsing Dr. Zahra Hasani Abiz, and Sahand Noormohammadzadeh
o Ken Hardie: endorsing Dr. Behnam Ohadi, and Ali Rakhshani, 17
o Ron McKinnon: endorsing Reza Arya, father of two, and Tohid Darvishiln
o Taleeb Noormohamed: endorsing Dr. Homayoun Eftekharian Nia, and Amir Nasr-Azadani
o Randeep Sarai: endorsing Dr. Alreza Eradati, and Hossein Mohammadi
o Patrick Weiler: endorsing Mehdi Memar Rast – Medical Student, and Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharagholou
o Jonathan Wilkinson – endorsing Dr. Hamid Ghare-Hassanlou, his spouse Farzaneh Qareh Hasanlu, and Mohammad Rakhshani, 16
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