Amnesty International Canada welcomes safe return of Maryam Mombeini
Amnesty International is welcoming news that Maryam Mombeini has finally reunited with her two sons in Canada, more than 18 months after Iranian authorities separated the family at Tehran’s airport.
In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Maryam is seen embracing her sons, Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami, at the Vancouver International Airport on October 10. It had been 582 days since they had last seen each other.
“We are grateful to the Canadian government, and specifically Foreign Minister Freeland for their unwavering support from day one. We are also thankful to Iran for allowing our mother, Maryam Mombeini, to finally leave and join us in Vancouver,” said Ramin in a statement sent to media and shared with Amnesty International.
“We have been overwhelmed with an amazing outpour of love and support from everyone. And we cannot be happier to have such an amazing network of friends and family, who’ve stood by our side through thick and thin.
“Our reunion has been very emotional. We are processing the sudden turn of events and would like to have some private family time to reconnect and resettle. We appreciate your understanding.”
The family’s nightmare beganin January 2018, when Maryam’s husband and dual Canadian-Iranian national, Dr. Kavous Seyed-Emami, was arrested and interrogated in Iran on national-security grounds related to his peaceful environmental activism as the managing director of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation. Two weeks later, Kavous died in custody under suspicious circumstances. There has never been an independent investigation of his death.
On March 7, almost four weeks later, Maryam Mombeini and her two sons were ready to board a plane to Canada when the Iranian authorities prevented Maryam, also a dual Canadian-Iranian citizen, from leaving the country. She ordered her sons, Ramin and Mehran, to leave without her. They have since tirelessly advocated for her safe return home. Amnesty International joined the family in that campaign.
“We are immensely relieved to learn that Maryam is safely back in Canada with her sons,” said Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada’s Secretary General. “We extend a heartful congratulations to the family, as they begin the next chapter of their lives together.
“While we’re grateful to the Iranian authorities for granting Maryam permission to leave the country, we must remember that eight wildlife conservationists, all of whom were Kavous’ colleagues at the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation, remain behind bars in Iran. They must be immediately and unconditionally freed.”
Amnesty International is calling on Iranian authorities to promptly release the conservationists, who have been wrongly accused of espionage for using cameras to track endangered species.