Canadian detained in one of Iran's ugliest prisons.


Canadian with a hyphen
#1
OTTAWA (CP) - Canadian officials in Tehran are trying to secure the freedom of a Canadian-Iranian intellectual in a case that is menacingly similar to that of slain photographer Zahra Kazemi.

Ramin Jahanbegloo was arrested in Tehran about 10 days ago after returning from a trip to India. He is the head of the office of contemporary studies at the private Cultural Research Bureau in Tehran, and a well-known philosopher and writer in Iran who travels frequently to make contact with the world's top thinkers.

From 1997 to 2001, he taught at the University of Toronto.

News reports out of Tehran on Thursday suggest he was charged with espionage and violating security measures.

Jahanbegloo recently wrote an editorial in Spain's El Pais newspaper contradicting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's view that the Holocaust was a myth.

"No one is free from blame for not knowing what happened in Auschwitz's gas chambers, nor are those who voluntarily close their eyes before the true essence of horror," he wrote.

Iran's minister of culture and Islamic guidance rejected speculation that Jahanbegloo was arrested for any of his recent writings.

"Nobody is being detained in Iran because of expression of ideas," Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi told the state news agency.

"When I heard about his detention, I ordered for his case to be followed in deserving way through legal entities."

Jahanbegloo is being held at Tehran's Evin prison, known for the torture of inmates.

Three years ago, Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi was also accused of spying after taking photos outside the same prison.

She died from head injuries sustained while being interrogated. Canadian demands for justice were ignored.

A spokesperson with Foreign Affairs said Canada's ambassador to Tehran, Gordon Venner, has approached Iranian authorities about the arrest, and officials have also been in contact with the Iranian embassy in Ottawa.

Canada was alerted to the case when fellow academics waiting for Jahanbegloo in Europe became worried about his whereabouts.

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said little about the case Thursday.

"For reasons of personal safety and concern for this individual, we do not feel that public commentary at this time would be helpful, and we don't want to endanger his life or his current circumstance," MacKay said.

Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff, a friend of Jahanbegloo, says he was not a political activist or anti-Iranian.

"This is an important case that all Canadians should watch with great concern," said Ignatieff, who is seeking the Liberal leadership.

"I can say with certainty that he's never been engaged in anti-Iranian activities . . . He's a voice of civility in Iran and I urge the Iranian authorities to release him as soon as possible."

A former colleague of Jahanbegloo said Iranian officials are ignoring Jahanbegloo's dual citizenship, particularly since he was travelling on an Iranian passport and has been living in Tehran.

"They have put the Canadian officials in a difficult position, and in that sense it's quite similar to what happened to Zahra Kazemi," said Mohamad Tavakoli, a history professor at the University of Toronto.

Tavakoli describes his friend as a cosmopolitan man of letters who acted as an interlocutor between Western intellectuals and Iranian society. He is the author of 20 books that are extremely popular in his native land.

In Toronto, he organized an international conference on Iranian modernity in 2001, and developed a regular discussion group on the country. He was last in Canada two years ago to participate in another academic conference.

"He is a mensch of a guy. He is a lovely person, really personable, he cares deeply about teaching," said Tavakoli.

"He developed a great following amongst students at the University of Toronto, and they always talk about him with much passion and care, and everyone is very upset."
 
I think not
#2
I'm curious to see how this is going to be handled.
 
Jersay
#3
Waiting for Canadian diplomacy to happen is like signing a death warrant. You can't trust foreign affairs if something happens overseas.

Or at least with the Libs in charge.
 
Canadian with a hyphen
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay

Waiting for Canadian diplomacy to happen is like signing a death warrant. You can't trust foreign affairs if something happens overseas.

Or at least with the Libs in charge.

:P u mean the conservatives in charge ?



Jersay ... c'mon what did the liberals do when Zahra Kazmi died as a result of being beaten in iranian prison? They were in charge...Maybe not enough ...Maybe it is not even our governments , it is the barbarians who detain a photojournalist and

"Azam said Kazemi showed obvious signs of torture, including:
1-Evidence of a very brutal rape.
2-A skull fracture, two broken fingers, missing fingernails, a crushed big toe and a broken nose.
3-Severe abdominal bruising, swelling behind the head and a bruised shoulder.
4-Deep scratches on the neck and evidence of flogging on the legs"

I hope this one is not another kazmi situation..
 
BitWhys
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Canadian with a hyphen

Jersay ... c'mon what did the liberals do when Zahra Kazmi died as a result of being beaten in iranian prison? Simply ,NOTHING.

jeez you guys. try to get your facts straight.

http://www.infoexport.gc.ca/ie-en/Office.jsp?oid=283

Quote:

Effective immediately, we will limit our encounters with Iranian officials to the Kazemi case, Iran's human rights record and Iran's nuclear non-proliferation performance. No visits or exchanges by Iranian officials to Canada will be permitted, nor will Canadian officials engage with Iran, except relating to these issues. Canada will not block the initiatives of private Canadian companies to trade with their Iranian counterparts. However, we will continue to apply strict export controls on sensitive goods and we will continue to advise business people about the political environment to consider when doing business with Iran. Furthermore, any existing programs of cooperation between Canadian government agencies and their Iranian counterparts will be halted. This state of relations will persist until Iran has taken steps to launch a credible and independent investigation and judicial process into the Kazemi case. We have not decided to recall our Ambassador, nor to shut down Embassy services. We believe there continues to be a need for professional-level dialogue regarding the serious existing difficulties in our relationship.

aside from that, there's precious little Canada CAN do about IRI treatment of dual citizens, especially since Iran doesn't even recognize that status.

now you can keeping playing partisan games or you can do the right thing, can it with the blame game, watch and pray. this man is in a very serious situation and Canada's hands are tied. especially for now. this is one case I'm GLAD MacKay kept his mouth shut.

the saddest part about this is unless its news the press, through no fault of their own, will have little to say about it to keep it in the public eye. probably until its too late.
 
Canadian with a hyphen
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by BitWhys

Quote: Originally Posted by Canadian with a hyphen

Jersay ... c'mon what did the liberals do when Zahra Kazmi died as a result of being beaten in iranian prison? Simply ,NOTHING.

jeez you guys. try to get your facts straight.

http://www.infoexport.gc.ca/ie-en/Office.jsp?oid=283

Quote:

Effective immediately, we will limit our encounters with Iranian officials to the Kazemi case, Iran's human rights record and Iran's nuclear non-proliferation performance. No visits or exchanges by Iranian officials to Canada will be permitted, nor will Canadian officials engage with Iran, except relating to these issues. Canada will not block the initiatives of private Canadian companies to trade with their Iranian counterparts. However, we will continue to apply strict export controls on sensitive goods and we will continue to advise business people about the political environment to consider when doing business with Iran. Furthermore, any existing programs of cooperation between Canadian government agencies and their Iranian counterparts will be halted. This state of relations will persist until Iran has taken steps to launch a credible and independent investigation and judicial process into the Kazemi case. We have not decided to recall our Ambassador, nor to shut down Embassy services. We believe there continues to be a need for professional-level dialogue regarding the serious existing difficulties in our relationship.

aside from that, there's precious little Canada CAN do about IRI treatment of dual citizens, especially since Iran doesn't even recognize that status.

now you can keeping playing partisan games or you can do the right thing, can it with the blame game, watch and pray. this man is in a very serious situation and Canada's hands are tied. especially for now. this is one case I'm GLAD MacKay kept his mouth shut.

the saddest part about this is unless its news the press, through no fault of their own, will have little to say about it to keep it in the public eye. probably until its too late.

bitwhys... I edited that to- not enough- probably when u were posting ur post
 
BitWhys
#7
then I have to ask you what else it is you think they could have done then and what you think they can possibly do now.
 
Canadian with a hyphen
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by BitWhys

then I have to ask you what else it is you think they could have done then and what you think they can possibly do now.

In the Kazemi case, I believe that they should've recalled our ambassador to Iran, shut down our Embassy rigth away ... we should've shown the iranian governement that we will not tolerate such actions ... shut the door in their face-but they probably thought that they want to give diplomacy a chance-

After the killing of Kazemi, when Intelligence Ministry agent Aghdam Ahmadi went on trial , charged with "semi-premeditated murder" of Zahra Kazemi, I believe that the Canadian governement should have pushed somewhere with the UN for him to be tried outside of Tehran so he can get what he deserves. For us to expect something out of his trial in Iran is a joke , justice will never be behind closed doors in Iran.

What can they do in this case? I think Mackay needs to make a short trip to Iran and give a strong message to the officials there even if he has to meet Neejad and tell the iranians to stop ignoring Ramin's dual citizenship at the least.
Keep in mind, it is serious and big case ... we need the big guys to get involved ... sometimes embassadors can't do enough and sometimes the message arrives too weak or too late.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#9
I think the only thing that might work,

is for the world community to get together and apply some pressure to Iran. I think there might be some support to prevent the murder of journalists.

I have to say though, that Iran does not reccognise any dual citizenship and any journalist is taking a hell of a chance in that country. I think even Kazeme would agree that the story she was after was not worth her life.
 
BitWhys
#10
Shutting down the embassy would have left all other Canadian citizens on Iranian soil without representation but they DID recall MacKinnon back one month into the affair. No way in hell the IRI is going to go to international court over what in their definition, a definition both victims were aware of going in and travellers have been strongly warned for some time now, is the murder of one of its own citizens in its own country nor can the UN demand it from within the confines of its mandate. There is, however, ongoing action within the structure of the UN Human Rights agreements since that's the only avenue available internationally. Those actions were initiated three months in. MacKay can get on a plane, give the IRI a good stern talking to, probably putting the professor more at risk in the process, and get told to mind its own business exactly like we've been hearing from them over Kazemi for the last 3 years.
 
Johnny Utah
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay

Waiting for Canadian diplomacy to happen is like signing a death warrant. You can't trust foreign affairs if something happens overseas.

Or at least with the Libs in charge.

When you're over seas as a Canadian Tourist you're on you're own as Foreign Affairs will hang you out to dry if you get in trouble. It's not a Conservative or Liberal Government thing it's a red tape culture issue within Foreign Affairs. If I ever go to Lebanon which oneday I hope to I know I'm on my own and can't count on Foreign Affairs to save my ass if I get into trouble..
 
Canadian with a hyphen
#12
I fear that is it going to be the start of more similar events by Iranian officials ...I still think that our governement can defend the professor's rights under intenational laws , like keep pushing to gain access to his prison a.s.a.p
 
Jersay
#13
If you are a Canadian citizen, when the Liberals were in charge, and possible now with the Cons in charge. If you get in trouble somewhere around the world you can kiss your luck good bye because they don't or they can't do anything about it.