Iran Accuses Canada of "G20 Brutality"

Published: July 15th 2010
in News » Local

Zahra Kazemi
Pic: file photo

The Canadian government responded swiftly to Iranian accusations that Canadian riot police violated the human rights of G20 protestors.


On Wednesday, Canada’s charge d’affaires was summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry to “receive Iran’s protest over the violent and inhuman treatment and the massive arrests of G20 protestors by the country’s riot police,” Iran’s Press TV reported.


Ottawa responded that it refuses to take human rights advice from a country that stones its citizens to death – the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 45-year old Iranian widow sentenced to death by stoning, has made international headlines in recent days, and there are two additional reports of women given the same death sentences. Stoning was placed into law after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.


The Iranian official also reminded Canada of its international commitments to allow peaceful demonstrations, calling on the Canadian government to uphold the rights of detainees.


Press TV posted the story under the headline “Iran Slams Canada over G20 Brutality”. The piece ends with the line, “Canadian police have been condemned by local and international news agencies for using excessive force against protestors.”


Iran’s stinging criticisms of Canada’s human rights behaviour is apparently in retaliation for Ottawa’s longstanding condemnation of Iran’s poor human rights record.


 Ottawa reacted quickly to the attack. In an email to the Canadian Press, Melissa Lantsman, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said, “Canada will take no lectures on human rights from Iran.”


"Canada has a system which affords all citizens due process of the law. This is something that Zahra Kazemi was never afforded,” she added.


She was referring to the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who died in 2003 when she was severely beaten during an interrogation after being arrested for photographing the relatives of inmates of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Kazemi , who lived in Montreal, was never officially charged with a crime.


Another recent case involved Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek reporter who was part of a group of political activists, journalists and others detained during protests over irregularities in Iran’s presidential election.   


Bahari was held in prison for almost four months and was finally released last October on $300,000 bail and allowed to leave Iran.


Amnesty International’s 2010 human rights report condemns Iran for rape and torture in prison, brutal punishments such as flogging, “judicial amputation” and a Supreme Court decision that paved the way for acid to be poured into the eyes of a man who had blinded a woman.

Related articles: (iran, g20, human rights, foreign affairs, kazemi, stoning, stoned)

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