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Iran

    October 11, 2019

    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.

    August 08, 2019
    Portrait of Saeed Malekpour

    On August 2, Maryam Malekpour was finally reunited with her brother Saeed in Vancouver after she had campaigned tirelessly for 11 years to free him from prison in Iran.

    “The nightmare is finally over!” Maryam wrote on Twitter. “Together we prevailed.”

    Maryam thanked “every single person who supported us throughout this time.”

    Saeed, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in Iran in October 2008 while on a visit to his dying father.

    Saeed was a web programmer and it was alleged that a program he developed was used to upload pornographic photos to the internet. Saeed had no knowledge of the program being used for that purpose.

    After his arrest, Saeed was held in solitary confinement for more than a year. Ill-treated, tortured and denied medical care until he "confessed", Saeed’s televised “confession” was the only evidence used against him.

    Following an unfair trial, Saeed was sentenced to death. In 2012, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.

    May 03, 2019

    Iranian lawyer and women’s rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh’s heartbreaking letters from prison reveal the trauma inflicted on families by the government that claims to protect them.

    TAKE ACTION: Free Nasrin Now!

    May 03, 2019
    Nasrin and her 2 children
    Iranian lawyer and women’s rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh’s heartbreaking letters from prison reveal the trauma inflicted on families by the government that claims to protect them.

    Nasrin Sotoudeh is a lawyer who has never shied away from doing what’s right in Iran. In her long and impressive career, she has exposed the injustices of the death penalty and campaigned for children’s rights. Most recently, she defied degrading laws that force girls as young as nine to wear a hijab or face prison, flogging or a fine. Nasrin has been sentenced to a total of 38 years and 148 lashes after two unfair trials because she demanded choice for women and girls. She will have to serve 17 years of this sentence.

    May 28, 2018
    Saeed Malekpour

    By: Nazila Nik

    On June 5, web programmer Saeed Malekpour will turn 43 behind bars in Iran. This will be the 10th birthday he has spent in Evin Prison. He was 33 when arrested and has now spent almost a decade in prison.  Almost a decade. Let it sink in for a minute: A decade without even a single day of furlough.

    Saeed Malekpour was an ordinary immigrant in Canada. He came here, just like thousands of others. Just like me.

    In 2008 he was a permanent resident of Canada, in the prime of his life, with a seemingly bright future in front of him. Then he went back to Iran to see his dying father. It was not the first time that he had travelled back to Iran. But this time, unlike others, he was arrested on street and taken for questioning. That was the beginning of a surreal nightmare that still haunts Saeed and his family a decade later.

    May 02, 2018
    Kavous Seyed-Emami

    “You can now see your husband, but there is just one thing – he is dead, having committed suicide in his cell”.

    This is not a line from a fictional story or a movie. This was how authorities informed Maryam Mombeini about the fate of her late husband, Kavous Seyed-Emami and his sudden death while in custody.

     

     

    October 02, 2017

    By Olivia Ward, former bureau chief, correspondent and foreign affairs writer for the Toronto Star for more than two decades. She works as a documentary filmmaker with Shelley Saywell's Bishari film company.  

    Saeed Malekpour came to Canada in 2004, drawn by its promise of unspoiled nature, fresh air and open spaces to explore.  But on Oct. 4, 2008, he was arrested, beaten, tortured and cast into the airless, dungeon-like cells of Iran’s Evin prison. Today marks his ninth year behind bars.

    Malekpour was a Canadian permanent resident awaiting citizenship when an urgent call from his family brought him to Tehran to visit his dying father. A metallurgical engineer, he had been working in Victoria B.C.as a web programmer to put himself through a graduate degree he hoped would open up new employment opportunities. Instead, he was charged by the Iranian regime with managing a pornographic website at the instigation of western countries plotting to corrupt the morals of Iranians – a spurious charge that was supported by no evidence.

    March 17, 2017
    Amnesty members stand with Antonella Mega in a campaign to free her husband Hamid Ghassemi Shall in 2012.

    On March 8 Amnesty Internatonal members from Group 46 in Peterbourough hosted their annual fundraising and awareness dinner.  This year their special guests were former Iranian-Canadian prisoner, Hamid Ghassemi Shall and his wife Antoella Mega. Amnesty International members across Canada campaigned for years for Hamid's release from prison and return to Canada.  Hamid now campaigns for others, particularly Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada now detained in Iran.

    Read about Group 46's event and their work to support human rights.

    Human Rights’ Groups Play Vital Role, Says Former Iranian Prisoner

    December 02, 2016
    Join Amnesty International supporters around the world on International Human Rights Day for our global campaign Write for Rights, and call on Iran to free women human rights defender Narges Mohammadi from prison.

    Narges Mohammadi is a prominent human rights advocate in Iran campaigning for justice and gender equality, and against the death penalty. She has been targeted and imprisoned by Iranian authorities before for her peaceful activism and has spent the last decade in and out of prison. Narges has spent the last year in Iran's notorious Evin prison, and has been sentenced to 16 years in prison following an unfair trial for trumped up national-security related charges.

    Her only 'crime' is standing up for human rights--including the rights of women and girls--amidst Iran's crackdown on women's rights and those who advocate for women's rights. Narges remains in prison because of peaceful human rights work. Iran needs to know that it is not acceptable to persecute peaceful activists. And Narges needs to know that the world is watching and advocating for her freedom.

    November 02, 2016
    Tell Iran Free Artists

    By: Nazila Nik (Iran Coordination Team)

    I remember growing up in Iran in the 80s: revolution and war, the dramatic shift of political and social landscape, uncertainty and a sense of suffocation. Among the enormous changes forced upon my generation, was a massive cultural purge that followed the 1979 revolution and affected the whole artistic sphere. Music that was deemed to be non-revolutionary or influenced by the west was banned. History has shown us, however, that music and art usually rebound when faced with censorship. People always come up with ingenious ways to overcome repression, and that is exactly what happened in Iran.

    October 21, 2016
    Ezat Taheri, Mohammad Ali Taheri's mother, sits front and centre as Amnesty International campaigner Gloria Nafziger thanks everyone for their commitment.

    In Amnesty International’s Toronto office there is a bookcase full of 3 inch thick non-descript black binders. Each binder contains 100 Urgent Actions, case files for people around the world at risk of human rights violations – unfair detention or arrest, torture, disappearance, harassment and censorship. Around 350 cases come in every year. They get sent out to letter writers, form online actions, get turned into petitions, spread via social media and power campaigns.

    September 19, 2016

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada English Branch. Originally published in the Globe and Mail. 

    When Dr. Homa Hoodfar was arrested in Iran 100 days ago, the circumstances and motivation behind her unfounded and illegal imprisonment were far from clear. While much of that uncertainty remains, what is clear is that she has endured more than three months of grave human rights violations.  Her plight resonates with wider concerns Amnesty International has recently documented in Iran, including a broad crackdown against perceived feminists and routine attacks on prisoners’ health.

    It all adds up a grim human rights reality for Dr. Hoodfar.  One hundred days into her nightmare, efforts to secure her immediate and unconditional release must be escalated even further.  

    July 21, 2016

    By Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada's Campaigner for Iran

    Where would you spend a Sunday in July?

    On Sunday July 17, the members of Amnesty International’s TriCities Group in Coquitlam BC chose to stand in solidarity with Iranian prisoner of conscience, Narges Mohammadi

    Narges Mohammadi is a human rights defender who received a 16-year prison sentence after she was convicted, following an unfair trial in April 2016, of the charges of “founding an illegal group”, “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system”. She is already serving a six-year prison sentence from a previous case. Her convictions are based solely on her human rights work.

    Narges is critically ill. She suffers from a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs) and a neurological disorder that has resulted in her experiencing seizures and temporary partial paralysis. She needs ongoing specialized medical care, which she cannot receive in prison, as well as daily medication.

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