Action for Kazemi?

Quote: Originally Posted by

Pettigrew comforts Kazemi family
But no action against Iran

Canadian Press

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

OTTAWA -- Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew comforted the son of slain journalist Zahra Kazemi on Monday and told the Iranian ambassador that Canada remains determined to see her killers brought to justice.

Pettigrew offered, no clue, however, of what legal or diplomatic pressure tactics he's prepared to use in pursuit of that goal. Stockwell Day, the Conservative foreign affairs critic, accused the new minister of failing his first big test by not taking a tougher stand.

And in Tehran there were conflicting signals from Iranian hardliners and moderates on whether there would be any further investigation of Kazemi's death in prison more than a year ago.

Sebastien Theberge, a spokesman for Pettigrew, said the minister spoke by phone Monday to Kazemi's son Stephan Hachemi, who has been harshly critical of Ottawa's handling of the affair.

The minister "expressed once again his personal sympathy to the family," said Theberge.

He added that Pettigrew also phoned Mohammad Ali Mousavi, the Iranian ambassador who was travelling outside Ottawa, and "clearly reaffirmed the Canadian government's commitment to get justice for the death of Madam Kazemi."

There was no explanation of how Pettigrew intends to back up those words. Government officials say they are studying a range of options that include:

* Taking the case to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
* Sponsoring a resolution at the United Nations denouncing the Iranian judicial system and its conduct of the Kazemi case.
* Imposing trade sanctions, although officials admit that Iran-Canada trade may not be extensive enough to serve as much of a lever.

Kazemi, a Montreal-based freelance photojournalist who was born in Iran, died in custody last summer after being arrested for taking pictures during student-led protests.

Authorities in Tehran initially said she died of a stroke, but a presidential committee later found she died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage from a blow to the head.

Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, a government intelligence agent, was charged with "semi-premeditated murder" although lawyers for Kazemi's family expressed doubt he was the true culprit.

Ahmadi was acquitted Saturday, following a trial that saw Canadian Ambassador Philip Mackinnon barred from court after the first day. He was called home to Ottawa in protest.

Pettigrew, who took over the foreign affairs portfolio in a Liberal cabinet shuffle last week, has been cautious in his approach to the file.

By contrast, Conservative critic Day waded in Monday with a declaration that "the Iranian regime has trampled on the human rights and legal rights of the (Kazemi) family and have virtually spat on the government of Canada.

"By failing to take immediate and decisive action it appears that Mr. Pettigrew is failing his first test as foreign affairs minister."

Is this liberal government going to show any backbone on the international scene, ever?
Reverend Blair
They should go to the Hague and the UN with it and all trade should be immediately suspended. This is an easy one to get international support on, especially since the international press has picked up the story.

Kazemi should have known better than to get herself in the position she did, and she certainly knew the risks she was taking, but she was a member of the press as well as a Canadian. If we are to promote democracy, as we keep claiming to be doing, then this is an excellent case since press freedoms, human rights, and women's rights were all violated.

We must take care that this does not become an excuse for military action against Iran by any of our allies, but short of that I think it's worth pushing.
Well, I am a modest man, as much as I detest the Iranian regime I have no wish for this to escalate to anything remotely militarily.

I just want something to show the world that we care about our citizens and that this type of insulting treatment from a foreign government is not acceptable. I like your idea, it doesn't even have be anything drastic, just has to have teeth. Talking a big game about how pissed you are isn't going to cut it. I think that really we risk being viewed by the international community, even our allies, as a joke if we don't.

Perhaps she might have known better and yes she is a dual national but what got her in hot water in the first place is rediculious. Not to mention our insulting treatment by the Iranian government.
Reverend Blair
We arrest people at protests all the time too, Crash. Remember APEC and Quebec City? Members of the press were busted right along with the protestors there too. In Miami which members of the press were arrested depended on what news outlet was listed on their credentials.

The real difference is in how people are treated once they are arrested. We do not, as a rule, beat people. We very seldom beat them to death. It has happened though.

We've also deported people back to countries known to use torture. That is against international conventions that we willingly signed.

My point is that although what happened to Kazemi was brutal and wrong, the Liberal government has some reason to step carefully. We should not allow them to do so, and as long as we do not recognise our own faults we are allowing just that.
Well, the exact reasons given during the time to the Canadian government was for taking photos of a government building. Which is legal in Canada and is of course illegal in Iran.

This aside, when I said, "put her in hot water" I didn't mean why she was arrested. I meant, why was she interrogated by government agents in the first place.

During APEC and the G8 in Quebec City were the protesters treated as anything else but disturbers of the peace? This is very routine in any western state in which a demonstartion takes place you so aptly pointed out.

The outcry about their mere incarceration was enough for the media to run with.

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