Jesse Brown: Ahmadinejad seeks 'justice' for Canadian blogger while Ottawa does nothing
- April 24, 2009 10:59 AM |
By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist:
Hossein Derakshan is a Canadian citizen who has been rotting in a Tehran jail since November. To the best of our knowledge, he has yet to be charged with anything (though it’s safe to assume that his detainment has something to do with the fact that he’s a highly opinionated and influential blogger). His case has gotten far too little attention from our government and from our media. But last week, someone finally took notice: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Responding to the high-profile case of imprisoned U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi, Ahmadinejad, who is running for re-election, sent an open-letter to an Iranian prosecutor asking for “justice” and due process in her case. Buried in reports of this letter is the startling fact that Ahmadinejad also called for “justice” in the case of Hossein Derakshan.
Hossein Derakshan is no Roxana Saberi: she is a respected professional journalist, he is an incendiary blogger. She has Barack Obama to rattle cages on her behalf. He has alienated his friends with his pro-nuclear, pro-Islamic regime views, and explicitly asked friends not to help him if he ever came to trouble.
None of these differences matter. Derakshan is a Canadian citizen imprisoned but uncharged in Iran without access to due process. Our government must do all it can to make sure he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Zahra Kazemi.
Freelance reporter Cyrus Farivar has for months been trying to get information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs in Ottawa on what they’re doing on Derakshan’s behalf. They have thus far refused to reveal whether they’ve established any contact with him at all, saying only that Iran doesn’t recognize Derakshan’s Canadian citizenship.
Farivar then asked what action would be taken if Iran continues to stonewall Ottawa. He has yet to receive an answer.
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