Iranian Diplomats Should Be Expelled
July 23, 2004
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi is living on another planet if he thinks Canadian-Iranian relations will not be harmed by the sudden and inexplicable conclusion of the Zahra Kazemi murder trial behind closed doors.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham was correct to immediately recall Canada's ambassador to Iran. We recommend a further step expel Iranian diplomats from Canada. Iran needs to hear clearly that Canada will not maintain diplomatic relations with a country that refuses to abide by the rule of law.
Kazemi was arrested last June after taking photographs of a student protest outside of an Iranian prison. Seventeen days later, July 10, 2003, the 54-year-old woman died while in custody, tortured by her captors and died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage.
Iran refused to return Kazemi's body to Canada despite her son Stephan Hachemi's requests, instead opting for a hasty burial in that country.
Kazemi's family have not been given access to autopsy reports.
Hachemi's lawyer was not granted a visa to enter Iran.
Canadian diplomats and the media were barred from the proceedings and the legal team representing the Kazemi family accused the court of covering up the facts.
It's an appalling denial of due process of law. Ottawa should do all in its power to bring this case before the International Court of Justice.
Meanwhile, Iran's diplomatic spokesman makes a grave error by shrugging off Canadian concerns. He has failed to understand that Iran has managed to truly anger one of the most patient countries on the globe.
Iran is, of course, free to conduct itself as a flagrant denier of human rights but rogue states deserve to bear the opprobrium of this nation and its friends.
"We recommend a further step expel Iranian diplomats from Canada"
Well, let's see if Canada has the 'audace' to do that. Any wagers?