Amnesty International greets Hamid Ghassemi-Shall back to Canada
After five years in Iran’s Evin prison and with an execution order on his life, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall today returned to Canada a free man, and was greeted by his wife Antonella Mega.
His long journey back from Tehran has been an incredible ordeal. Hamid was arrested on May 24, 2008 while visiting his elderly mother in Iran. His older brother, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, had been arrested two weeks earlier. Both brothers were held in solitary confinement without legal representation in Tehran’s Evin prison for 18 months. On December 29, 2008 both men were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death following an unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court. In January 2010, Alborz Ghassemi-Shall, who was suffering from stomach cancer, died in prison.
Amnesty International began campaigning on Ghassemi-Shall’s behalf in December 2009. Antonella Mega received thousands of solidarity messages from Amnesty International members across Canada. Hundreds of these messages were sent to Ghassemi-Shall in Evin prison. Tens of thousands of Canadians have worked together for this outcome, through tireless campaigning, personal letters of hope sent to Hamid, petitions, emails, talks in community centres, and simple word-of-mouth. Officials and government representatives in Canada added their voice, calling for Hamid Ghassemi Shall’s release in Parliament.
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