CP: A legal showdown is set to take place in a Quebec courtroom this week pitting the government of Iran against the estate of slain photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL (CP) — A legal showdown is set to take place in a Quebec courtroom this week pitting the government of Iran against the estate of slain photojournalist Zahra Kazemi.
Kazemi's estate and son Stephan Hashemi are suing the Iranian government for $17 million for her arrest, detention and killing.
But Iran will argue that they have immunity from Canadian courts under the State Immunity Act, which restricts the conditions under which a foreign government can be sued here.
Hashemi says the dollar figure isn't as important as achieving justice in his mother's death.
The Montreal photographer was arrested in 2003 outside an Iranian prison but never charged, then was beaten to death in jail.
Human-rights and legal experts say this case is important because if it's wiped out under the State Immunity Act, that will send a message that Canadians don't have anywhere to seek justice for crimes committed against them abroad.
A Liberal MP from Montreal, Irwin Cotler, is sponsoring a private member's bill that would amend the State Immunity Act and make it easier to sue foreign governments.