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NGO's Push for Kazemi Probe!

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 12:23 pm    Post subject: NGO's Push for Kazemi Probe! Reply with quote


Groups push for Kazemi probe


MONTREAL (CP) - Ottawa is not doing enough to pursue all legal avenues, in Canada and abroad, to bring justice in the case of a Canadian photojournalist slain in Iran, several journalism and human rights groups said Friday.

The coalition, joined by Zahra Kazemi's son, released a letter sent this week to Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre. The letter asks the Canadian government to "act promptly to ensure those responsible for Ms. Kazemi's death do not benefit from impunity."

Specifically, the groups want Ottawa to:

- Investigate all cases of torture of Canadians abroad in accordance with the Criminal Code.

- Present Kazemi's case to the United Nations and ask it to lead an investigation through its Human Rights Commission.

- And submit an appeal to the International Court of Justice concerning violations of the Vienna Convention that prevented Kazemi, who had dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship, from getting proper consular protection.

Catherine Duhamel of the International Judicial Resources Centre said the coalition does not have wild expectations.

"It's a start," Duhamel told a news conference. "Two laws in Canada concerning Mrs. Kazemi's case are applicable. Why not use them? Start using them and see what happens."

Other groups which signed the letter include Amnesty International, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Reporters Without Borders and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

They are part of a growing political and non-governmental response to Kazemi's violent death earlier this summer.

Kazemi died July 10 after sustaining head injuries while in custody in Tehran. Her death came nearly three weeks after she was detained for taking photographs outside a prison during student-led protests. After 77 hours of interrogation, she was rushed to a hospital's intensive care unit where she died 14 days later.

The body was buried in Iran despite pleas from Ottawa and Kazemi's Montreal-based son, Stephan Hachemi, that it be returned to Canada.

Hachemi reiterated his call at the news conference for Ottawa to get tough with Iran.

"Now that the Canadian government has been truly humiliated, I understand that for the honour of two Canadian citizens - my mother and myself - it doesn't want to lose important diplomatic relations," Hachemi said.

"But for its honour, I think the government should show a lot more resolve."

Isabelle Savard, a spokeswoman for Graham, said the minister had not yet seen the coalition's letter.

While he is prepared to look at the legal options available within Canada, he is already busy trying to "internationalize the issue," said Savard.

Graham addressed the issue of protecting all journalists around the world during a meeting in Washington this week with Secretary of State Colin Powell. Earlier this month Graham also pressed European allies to demand Iran prosecute those responsible for Kazemi's death.

"The only way to get through to a government like the Iranian government is to address this with other countries . . . in order that at some point people speak with a common voice," Savard said in a telephone interview.

Kazemi's death has also attracted the attention of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who said recently he was "highly concerned" and promised to raise the issue with Iran.

Savard said Graham has already asked that the UN Human Rights Commission address the case.

Duhamel said the coalition will give the government time to respond to its specific requests, but has plans for further action if it's not satisfied with the results.



Famous NGOs to ask justice in Kazemi's case

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Sep 11, 2003

Several famous NGOs will ask for Justice in the Kazemi's case during a meeting which will be held tomorrow in the Canadian city of Montreal at the "Centre Saint Pierre".

The meeting has been organized by the famous "Reporters Sans Frontieres", "Amnesty International", "Centre International de Ressources Juridiques" and the "Federation Professionnelle des Journalistes du Qu�bec".

These NGOs inend to critisize the Canadian government for its slow move in the Kazemi's murder case and they will issue a join statement calling for the defense of Human Rights in Iran.

Sanctions against the Islamic regime will be requested in case of non compliance.

Stephan Hashemi, son of the murdered journalist will be present at this meeting which will start at 10:00 AM (local time).
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