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B.C. MPs sponsor citizens detained by Iranian government

The endorsed detainees include doctors, medical students and young people facing brutal punishment in the country
Vancouver protesters form the largest human chain in B.C.'s history across Lions Gate Bridge on Oct. 29, 2022. | @HomaYahyavi / Twitter

As people in Iran continue to speak out and demonstrate against the oppressive regime in power, many who have been detained face severe punishment including the death penalty.

After calls from community members to help prevent the executions, torture and imprisonment of these individuals, a group of nine B.C. members of Parliament have politically sponsored a list of detainees.

The politicians include North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson – who is endorsing Dr. Hamid Ghare-Hassanlou and his spouse, Farzaneh Qareh Hasanlu, as well as Mohammad Rakhshani, 16 – and West Vancouver MP Patrick Weiler, who is endorsing medical student Mehdi Memar Rast and Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharagholou.

Burnaby North-Seymour MP Terry Beech is endorsing Iman Navabi, a surgery resident who was arrested in Kurdistan for treating patients and is currently being tortured, said Beech’s head of staff Julie Astley. He’s also sponsoring Fahimeh Karimi, a mother of three.

“Today, alongside my B.C. colleagues, we have each chosen two individuals to sponsor from a list of detainees currently under threat by the government of Iran,” Beech said. “Burnaby and North Vancouver community members have called for our commitment to helping prevent the imprisonment, torture, and execution of those condemned by the Iranian regime.”

The Iranian regime’s brutality against its own people – in particular, women and girls – is unrelenting, and the situation is worsening, reads a joint statement from the MPs. “Tens of thousands of Iran’s own citizens are imprisoned for protesting the regime’s violence and egregious human rights violations. Many hundreds have been killed, including numerous children.”

The MPs said that previous endorsements by elected officials in Europe have brought the plight of detainees to the forefront and have demonstrated to the regime that it’s being watched. The Canadian politicians added that their support of the Iranian people is unwavering and that they will amplify their voices whenever they can.

“We call on Iran to immediately establish a moratorium to halt all executions and to end this brutal and inhumane punishment,” the statement continues. “We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances for all people, everywhere.”

On Dec. 16, Canada introduced a resolution to condemn the death penalty, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The MPs have chosen a number of physicians and medical students targeted for treating people injured in protests, or for supporting voices rising against the regime. The politicians said they also chose young people deliberately hit with severe penalties for speaking out.

“These individuals will be followed on our social media, and we will remind those in power that they must not flagrantly ignore universal human rights, international laws and individual freedoms that must be affirmed and assured for every person,” the statement reads.

“We ask that Canadians stand strong and united in our support of international conventions on human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls, and rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.”

Here is a list of the other MPs and sponsored detainees:

  • Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag is endorsing Dr. Farhad Meysami, and Mohammad Ghobadlou;
  • Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry is endorsing Dr. Zahra Hasani Abiz and Sahand Noormohammadzadeh;
  • Fleetwood-Port Kells MP Ken Hardie is endorsing Dr. Behnam Ohadi and Ali Rakhshani, 17;
  • Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon is endorsing Reza Arya, father of two, and Tohid Darvishiln;
  • Vancouver Granville MP Taleeb Noormohamed is endorsing Dr. Homayoun Eftekharian Nia and Amir Nasr-Azadani; and
  • Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai is endorsing Dr. Alreza Eradati and Hossein Mohammadi.

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