Iranian Authorities Bar Widow of Dead Canadian Activist from Leaving

Iranian Authorities Bar Widow of Dead Canadian Activist from Leaving

Friday, 9 March, 2018 - 06:15
A general view of the traffic on a main highway in Tehran on January 3, 2018. (AFP)
Tehran - Ottawa - Asharq Al-Awsat
The wife of an Iranian-Canadian environmental activist who died in prison in Tehran last month was barred from leaving Iran, one of her sons said, in an unexplained move that drew an angry response from Canada.

Raam Emami said in an email to journalists that security forces had not allowed his mother, Maryam Mombeini, to get on a plane to Vancouver with him and his brother on Wednesday night.

Mombeini is the widow of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an environmental activist and sociology professor who was arrested on Jan. 24 and died in prison. Iran's judiciary said Seyed-Emami, 63, had committed suicide.

The family has called for an independent investigation of his death.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, said in a message posted on Twitter that she was "outraged" to learn that Mombeini had been barred from leaving Iran.

"We demand that, as a Canadian, she be given the freedom to return home," she added.

Raam Emami said the family decided to leave Iran after being constantly "harassed,” Reuters reported.

"The government raided our home and seized all of our valuables (most importantly deeds to our homes)," he said. "We can no longer stand this state of constant terror."

Raam Emami has previously said that the family was under pressure from authorities not to publicize the case of Seyed-Emami.

"The authorities told our lawyers to tell the brothers 'to shut up or we'll shut them up,' Emami said, adding government agents had told him they were watching him.

Bilateral ties between Iran and Canada worsened in 2003 when an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi, died in Tehran’s Evin prison while in custody. Canada cut all diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012.

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