CJFE calls on Canadian government to take action

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Tower A, 10th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

It has been more than a year since the tragic death of Zahra Kazemi, a year which has culminated with an acquittal in what many have denounced as a 'sham trial' of the agent charged with murdering Kazemi. It has been a long year in which we have watched the various factions of the Iranian government engage in a feud over where the blame would be apportioned, and who would be chosen as scapegoat. It has been a year in which the corruption and ineffectiveness of this regime has been put on display to the world.

It is past time that the government of Canada recognise that the government of Iran is unable and unwilling to end the impunity of the murderers of Zahra Kazemi. Canada must not hide behind political rhetoric any longer. It must fulfil its duty to its citizens: Zahra Kazemi and her family, and all Canadians who rely on its protection.

CJFE urges the government of Canada to hesitate no longer, to take decisive and strong action in response to Iran's complete disregard for the law in its conduct of the investigation and trial. We call on the government of Canada to express its outrage in the strongest possible terms, to impose substantial diplomatic sanctions including the withdrawal of accreditation from senior Iranian diplomats based in Canada, and to use all other appropriate means to bring pressure on the Tehran government. We also urge the government of Canada to pursue this matter immediately with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and to use all diplomatic channels or international legal avenues at its disposal.

The world has lost faith in the government of Iran. We hope that the government of Canada can renew our faith in the ability of government to deliver on in responsibilities to its citizens.

I look forward to receiving your prompt reply.

Yours truly,

Arnold Amber

Case file number: PL-O420

C.C.: Mr. Philip MacKinnon, Ambassador, the Canadian Embassy to the Islamic Republic of Iran