Iranian Lashed to Death in Iranian Jail
February 25, 2004
VANCOUVER -- There's been a tragic turn of events for the family of three Iranian sisters who launched a lawsuit against the federal government because of alleged bungling by Canada Immigration officials.
The women, who now live in North Vancouver, claimed they had been beaten with chains in an Iranian prison while they waited for Canadian visas that had already been granted.
Once they arrived in Canada, the three had asked the immigration minister to grant a "visa to safety" for their brother, who was sentenced to a lashing.
But Immigration Canada rejected pleas for the young man's release. And in a letter to the women's lawyer, Richard Kurland, a federal official said the brother knew the laws of his country when he broke them.
Kurland says the brother was beaten last week, with tragic consequences.
"Mr. Mofidi died at 1 a.m. Tehran time yesterday (Tuesday)," he says. "He had been released after being lashed by Tehran prison officials on Thursday."
The official cause of Mofidi's death was a heart attack.
Kurland is requesting a formal investigation by the Iranian government and by the UN for allowing Mofidi's lashing when he was already ill with a lung infection. http://www.mytelus.com/news/article.do?pageID=cbc/vancouver_home&articleID=1537260
Background to Mohsen Mofidi flogging story:
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PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/010/2004
13 February 2004
UA 65/04 Flogging/legal concern
IRAN Mohsen Mofidi (m), aged 35
Mohsen Mofidi has been sentenced to be flogged, and the sentence could be
carried out at any time.
He and his three sisters were arrested by the morality police in July 2003, at
their home in Tehran. All were released on bail, and ordered to attend court
for trial on 28 July. Mohsen was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, to be
followed by 80 lashes, on charges including possession of a medicine containing
alcohol, consuming alcohol 20 years previously, possession of a satellite dish,
and aiding and abetting his sisters' "corruption" (having boyfriends, to which
they allegedly admitted after being beaten in custody). He has also reportedly
been fined US$239. Mohsen apparently did not have access to adequate legal
representation during his trial, as the person appointed to act as his lawyer
lacked legal qualifications. His sisters were sentenced to 80 lashes and 130
lashes respectively on charges of 'corruption' for having boyfriends.
He and his sisters were summoned to appear on 10 January 2004; only Mohsen
attended, and began his jail sentence. His sisters did not attend, and fled the
country before their own flogging could be carried out.
On 11 February, the 25th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran, his prison
sentence was suspended, and he is scheduled to be released imminently. It is
believed that his flogging sentence will be carried out on his final day of
detention. Prison officials are alleged to have told him that he will be able
to keep his shirt on during the lashing in return for a bribe.
Mohsen Mofidi is reported to be in Qasr prison in Tehran, where he has been
denied access to his family. He has reportedly been told by prison officials
that for a payment of $4,000, $1000 of which is to be paid immediately, he will
be transferred to a better part of the prison and be allowed to receive
Amnesty International considers the punishment of flogging to constitute cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture, in contravention of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a
*In 2003 the organisation recorded 197 floggings as having been carried out in Iran, although many more may in fact have taken place.
In 1997 the United Nations commission on human rights stated that "corporal punishment [such as flogging] can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, or even to torture". http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE130102004?open&of=ENG-IRN