Sunday, September 18, 2016


On September 13, members of Canadian Parliament Mr. James Bezan, Official Opposition Critic to National Defense and Peter Kent, Official Opposition Critic to foreign affairs issued a statement regarding the transfer of the remaining Iranian refugees from Camp Liberty in Iraq to Albania. It says: “This week’s news brings an end to a long journey and campaign to ensure that the members of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran or MEK were treated with dignity, respect, and had their basic human rights protected. It is our hope that these individuals will be able to live long and fulfilling lives without the fear of reprisal by the dictatorial regime of Iran.
“Members of the Iranian opposition played a central role in producing a positive solution for the residents of ‎Camp Liberty. Those struggling to bring change, democracy, and human rights to Iran were able to draw international attention to the persecution faced by the residents of Camp Liberty and were able to build a coalition of nations, including Canada, who supported their efforts.
“The previous Conservative government took bold and principled positions on Iran. We severed all diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, closing Canada’s embassy in Tehran and expelling Iranian diplomats from Ottawa for their non-compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding its nuclear program and Iran’s regional policies. We designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. Canada stands in solidarity with all those opposed to the brutal leadership in Iran.
“With this in mind, there is a significant amount of work to be done. Human rights around the world
are abused on a daily basis by corrupt officials of tyrannical regimes. Canada must, and can do more to put pressure on these governments to respect the rule of law and freedoms of their citizens.”

On the occasion of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York, 22 former UN human rights special rapporteurs issued a statement on September 16, calling for the release of Homa Hoodfar, a 65-year-old Iranian-Canadian professor who's been jailed in Iran.
The statement reads in part: "We stress that Iran is breaching its national constitutional principles by arbitrarily arresting and detaining people for simply expressing their opinion and conducting academic research, as is their professional right and duty. Professor Hoodfar’s ill-treatment is a violation of the rights of individuals to freedom of thought, opinion, and speech which are explicitly protected under the ICCPR (Articles 18, 19& 21), to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a State Party." It added: "The Islamic Republic of Iran, a State Party to the ICCPR, has accused Professor Hoodfar of collaborating with a hostile foreign government against national security, promoting propaganda against the Iranian state and for “dabbling in feminism.” They called for Ms Hoodfar's immediate release.

Tehran's Prosecutor rejected the request for conditional release of Christian prisoner of conscience Maryam Naghash Zargaran. On September 15, officials of the Prosecutor's Office informed Ms. Zargaran's family that she must report back to prison, as soon as possible. Maryam Naghash Zargaran had been granted medical leave on August 21, 2016, after a relatively long hunger strike. Ms. Zargaran suffers from ASD and underwent a heart surgery nine years ago, which requires her to receive special and constant medical care but prison officials do not agree with her conditional release.

Security forces in Iran prevented Ms. Mansoureh Behkish from leaving the country on September 16. Ms. Behkish was going to visit her children abroad.
Agents stopped Ms. Behkish while her passport bore a valid departure stamp and she had passed the airport controls.
Ms. Behkish is a human rights activist and has lost six sister and brothers during the executions of the 1980s in Iran.

Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime's supreme leader, issued a fatwa banning women from riding bicycles in public and in front of strangers. He said: "Riding bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women's chastity, and it must be abandoned." (The state-run media, September 10, 2016) A week before this fatwa, Khamenei defined women's only "role and mission" as "motherhood and housekeeping" when he was declaring the "direction of the state" and general policies on "family." (Khamenei's website – September 3, 2016)