Ms. Fatima Eftkekhari (wife of Saeed), ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you to all who came from Toronto and Montreal for the events
today on Parliament Hill and here at the embassy of Iran.
Saeed is a permanent Canadian resident, who has been imprisoned in
Iran's notorious Evin prison since 2008 on internet-related charges.
He has endured much physical and psychological torture by
interrogators for the purpose of extracting false confessions. His
sentence was execution.
He wrote a letter from prison describing inhuman torture he has faced:
lashings, threats of sexual assault, and interrogation sessions that
resulted in broken teeth, a displaced jaw, bodily infections, and
bouts of paralysis. (http://bit.ly/hu6HFa)
He has not been provided with any opportunity to defend himself from
the charge laid against him. It is becoming increasingly clear that
this will never come. Strong evidence suggests that the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has predetermined his fate.
Iran is a vitally important country. Its culture is thousands of years
old; it has a long-suffering population of about 70 million, with
almost two-thirds under the age of 30. Iranians increasingly should be
distinguished from the regime in Tehran.
Iran now has the highest number of executions per capita in the world.
More than 2000 death sentences were handed down last year alone, with
approximately 160 children now on death row. More than 3000 Afghan
refugees are awaiting execution; more than 32 Iranians are waiting to
be stoned to death; the highest number of journalists in detention
exists in Iran; human rights activists and defense attorneys face
The regime is intensifying the persecution of its people for their
faiths. The Iranian parliament adopted a mandatory death penalty for
"apostasy." Among its primary targets is the gentle Bahaíi community.
Most of those prosecuted for apostasy are Muslims.
Here outside the Iranian embassy, we are also united in protesting the
recent wave of arbitrary, illegal, and inhumane executions carried
across Iran. Supporters will also lend their voice to the voiceless
prisoners waiting to face the gallows.
From December 20, 2010 to January 30, 2011 alone, the Islamic Republic
of Iran has executed over 118 individuals while many more sit on death
row. In recent years, Iran has had the highest rate of executions per
capita in the world.
Prime Minister Harper himself must take a firm stance against the
execution sentence issued by the Iranian judiciary to Saeed, asking
the government of Iran immediately to:
- commute the death sentence,
- investigate the allegations he has made about torture in prison, and
- disallow any forced confession used against him at trial,
Letís bring Saeed back home to his Fatima, who just spoke to us, so
they may resume their already established life in Canada.
The Canadian government has made efforts to address Iranís gross and
systematic civil rights abuses. Canada is among the major sponsors of
the United Nations resolution on Iranís human rights violations.