Open Letter to Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada: Canada Needs to Stand Up Against Severe Violations of Human Rights in Iran

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To: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

CC: Hon. Erin O’Toole, Leader of the Official Opposition
CC: Hon. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP
CC: Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of Bloc Quebecois
CC: Jo-Ann Roberts, Leader of Green Party of Canada
CC: Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs CC: Hon. Bob Rae, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau;
We would like to commend you for your statement on defending Nasrin Sotoudeh, the internationally recognized champion of human rights and a revered figure in Iran, who was wrongfully sentenced to 38 years in jail and flogging. Ms. Sotoudeh spent 40+ days on hunger strike and was transferred to ICU last week due to her deteriorating health condition. Her hunger strike started as protest not only to her treatment but also against the rampant systematic unjust persecution of peaceful dissidents by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Just two days ago, she was transferred to prison again, despite her deteriorating health condition. Nasrin Sotoudeh’s life is in danger. There is an urgent need for a unified international effort to save her life. (Ref: 1-4)
It is indeed with great sadness and deep sorrow that we witness the increasingly dire human rights situation in Iran, including the imprisonment and mistreatment of hundreds of political prisoners, human rights activists, journalists, environmentalists, leaders of workers unions, religious and ethnic minority groups, etc.
Two weeks ago, Navid Afkari, a world wrestling champion, was executed despite global demands for justice and a stay of the unjust death sentence he faced. There are reports indicating he may have been killed under torture. He was wrongfully accused of murdering a security guard during last year’s protests, accusations he has flatly denied. He received no fair trial in a rushed and prejudicial process and was subjected to forced confessions under torture. Amnesty International and other Human Rights organizations called this travesty of justice. His two brothers are in prison too. ( Ref: 5-6)
Three weeks ago, Amnesty International published a report that enumerates extreme human rights violations, including severe torture of citizens who have been arrested during the protests in Iran last fall. (Ref: 7)

The Iranian authorities have failed to cooperate with the international community regarding the victims of the Ukrainian flight that was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp.
We hereby ask you, as the Canadian Prime Minister, to take a firm stance condemning the inhumane actions of the Iranian government. Canada must lead the international community in condemning human rights violations in Iran. We respectfully ask you to consider our recommendations below;
1. Compel the UN Human Rights Council to draft a statement condemning the Iranian government for the execution of Navid Afkari.
2. Draft a joint statement by the leaders of G7 countries calling the Iranian government to stop all torture in Iranian prisons immediately, and free Nasrin Sotoudeh.
3. To table a motion in the house of commons to recognize Nasrin Sotoudeh as an Honorary Canadian Citizen, and demand her immediate release from prison.
4. Implement Magnitsky legislation against all Iranian officials who have committed Human Rights violations in Iran and ban them from travelling to and conducting business in Canada.
Canada has always been a champion of justice and human rights. Mister Prime Minister, we ask you to act swiftly before more tragedy befalls the courageous human rights activists in Iran who risk their lives in the name of justice and humanity.
References:
1. https://amnesty.ca/blog/letter-nasrin-sotoudeh
2. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/09/iran-husband-of-hunger-striking-human-rights-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh-arrested/
3. https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/iran-free-nasrin-satoudeh-now/
4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/26/no-choice-jailed-iranian-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh-goes-on-hunger-strike
5. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/09/iran-secret-execution-of-wrestler-navid-afkari-a-travesty-of-justice/
6. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-54129949
7. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/09/iran-detainees-flogged-sexually-abused-and-given-electric-shocks-in-gruesome-post- protest-crackdown-new-report/

Undersigned:
1. John Polanyi, Nobel Laureate, University of Toronto
2. Hon. Julian Fantino, P.C., C.O.M., O.Ont, Former Member of Parliament
3. Hon.Lorne Nystrom, Privy Councilor
4. Hon. Art Eggleton, P.C
5. Reza Moridi, Physicist and former Minister and Parliamentarian, Ontario
6. Amir Khadir, Physician, former member of the Quebec National Assembly
7. Françoise David, ex-députée de Gouin pour Quebec solidaire
8. Costas Menegakis, former Member of Parliament
9. Sarkis Assadourian, former Member of Parliament
10. Chris Ballard, former Minister and Parliamentarian, Ontario
11. Megan Leslie, former Member of Parliament, former Deputy Leader of official
Opposition

12. Dennis Gruending, former Member of Parliament, Ottawa-based writer and blogger
13. Dawn Black, frormer Member of Parliament, former MLA, Board of director of the
Broadbent Institute,
14. Harry Van Mulligen, former Saskatchewan MLA and Cabinet Minister
15. Julie Snyder, TV Talk Show Host, Quebec
16. Julius H. Grey, Lawyer, university professor, expert in constitutional and human rights
law
17. François Saillant, ex-coordonnateur du Front d’action populaire en réaménagement
urbain (FRAPRU).
18. Michael Bloomfield, Founder and Executive Director of Harmony Foundation of Canada
19. Akaash Maharaj, Ambassador-at-Large for the Global Organization of Parliamentarians
Against Corruption (GOPAC)
20. Dr. Barbara J. Winter, Director, Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Department of
Archaeology, Faculty of the Environment, Simon Fraser University
21. Hazel Postma, Administrator Emerita, Douglas College.
22. Barb Stegemann, Author and CEO, The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc, Honorary Colonel, RCAF,
Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada WXN
23. Gary Caroline, lawyer, Human Rights Advocate and activist
24. Nils Engelstad, lawyer
25. Marcus Kolga, Senior Fellow, MacDonald-Laurier Institute
26. Chris Macleod, lawyer
27. Olivia Ward, filmmaker and journalist.
28. Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, Senior Fellow, Institute for Science, Society and Policy,
University of Ottawa
29. Jason Cherniak , Lawyer, Cherniak Law Professional Corporation
30. Ken Mitchell, Professor Emeritus University of Regina, Recipient of the order of Canada
31. Jeanne Shami, Professor Emeritus University of Regina
32. Paul Champ, Lawyer
33. Mehrdad Hariri, President, Canadian Science Policy Centre
34. Payam Akhavan, Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto

35. Nimâ Machouf, Épidémiologiste, chargée d’enseignement, École de santé publique, U de Montréal
36. Kaveh Shahrooz, Senior Fellow, Centre for Advancing Canada’s Interests Abroad, Macdonald-Laurier Institute
37. Ramin Jahanbegloo, Professor- Vice Dean, Director, Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace, Jindal Global Law School, Jindal Global University, India
38. Fred Soofi, Fred Farhad Soofi, Recipient of Citation for Citizenship 1994, Recipient of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Top 25 Canadian Immigrants 2016
39. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Toronto 40. Fereidoon Rahmani, Associate Professor York University
41. Soheil Parsa Artistic Director, Modern Times Stage Co.
42. Saeed Malekppour, Former Political Prisoner on death row
43. Mehrdad Ariannejad, Community Activist
44. Hamed Esmaeilion, Author
45. Babak Payami, Filmmaker
46. Saeed Hariri, Toronto Book Club Moderator
47. Mohammad Tajdolati, Journalist, Canada
48. Farrokh Zandi, Professor, York university
49. Khatereh Azarfar, VP of information Technology, Toronto 50. Lily Pourzand, Gender Equality Expert
51. Shaparak Shajarizadeh, Member of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights 52. Nasrin Almasi, Shahrvand Managing Editor
53. Hassan Zerehi, writer, Shahrvand Chief Editor
54. Firoozeh Bahrami, Lawyer
55. Kei Esmaeilpour, MSM, Civic Association of Iranian-Canadians, President 56. Siavosh Assadpour, MD, Community Activist
57. Ata Hoodashtian, Associate Professor, UMEF University, Geneva

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