Iran General NewsMartin says Iran must be held to account

Martin says Iran must be held to account

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Canadian Press: Iran must be held to account by the international community based on the strength of a doctor’s account of the injuries he found on Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, Prime Minister Paul Martin said Friday. “I think there’s no doubt whether
you are talking about international courts or whether you are talking about the UN Commission on Human Rights,” he said, “I would certainly think the details of what happened to her now in the testimony that has been brought has got to make the world aware
of just what Iran is all about and that they have got to be held to account.”
Canadian Press

Kamloops, B.C. — Iran must be held to account by the international community based on the strength of a doctor’s account of the injuries he found on Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, Prime Minister Paul Martin said Friday.

“I think there’s no doubt whether you are talking about international courts or whether you are talking about the UN Commission on Human Rights,” he said, “I would certainly think the details of what happened to her now in the testimony that has been brought has got to make the world aware of just what Iran is all about and that they have got to be held to account.”

Ms. Kazemi, 54, an Iranian-born dual citizen, was arrested after taking pictures outside a prison in Tehran in June 2003.

Iranian officials first claimed she died accidentally as the result of a fall while weakened by a hunger strike. Later they charged a low-level secret police officer in her death but he was acquitted in a closed-door trial.

But on Thursday refugee doctor Shahram Azam, formerly with the Iranian military, spoke with clinical coolness at a news conference as he listed the bruises, broken bones and other injuries he found on Kazemi. These could only have been the result of the deliberate torture and rape, he said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Dr. Azam recounted in a matter-of-fact way how Ms. Kazemi was brought into his Tehran hospital unconscious and on a stretcher on June 27, 2003, four days after her arrest.

Dr. Azam, a former major in the Iranian security force, arrived in Canada on Monday. He fled Iran last summer with his wife and daughter under the guise of seeking medical treatment.

On Friday, Mr. Martin defended Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew’s handling of the Kazemi case.

And he backed the Foreign Affairs Department’s decision to keep the allegations under wraps until after Dr. Azam had come to Canada. Foreign Affairs was apparently aware of the allegations last November when he applied to come to Canada after fleeing Iran for Sweden.

“I think that’s what’s very important is to have the testimony of the doctor,” Mr. Martin said at the end of a two-day trip to B.C. “That was more striking and obviously brought the matter home in the way that a simple statement wouldn’t.”

Mr. Martin said he hoped the new information would have an impact on Canada’s attempts to enlist international support in pressuring Iran to answer for Ms. Kazemi’s death.

Mr. Pettigrew said Thursday the doctor’s “gruesome” account of her injuries only reinforces Canada’s belief she was murdered but that didn’t change the “dossier.”

Mr. Pettigrew’s response drew opposition criticism from both the NDP and Conservatives, who demanded Canada recall its recently appointed ambassador to Iran and impose economic sanctions.

Mr. Pettigrew rejected demands to recall Canada’s ambassador or impose sanctions unilaterally.

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