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Jesse Brown: Ahmadinejad seeks 'justice' for Canadian blogger while Ottawa does nothing

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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Comments

Mandy

Edmonton

It is quite clear, and has been for some time, that our government doesn't like brown people and human rights and democracy depend on your gender and your colour. Harper talks the talk about human rights and democratic processes, slams China every chance it gets, yet leaves Omar Khadr rotting in Guantanamo, waits until there is a public outcry over the right to rape wives law in Afghanistan and keeps mum (or ignores)Derakshan's plight in Iran. How many more Derakshans are out there that we haven't yet heard about and our government is taking no action on? There's big talk from our government on many things and yet, when it comes to walking it, our government sits down.

Posted April 24, 2009 02:19 PM

CatherineF

Ottawa

Would someone PLEASE explain to me why Derakshan bothered to come to Canada and become a citizen, when he turns around and returns to Iran?? Just asking!!

He has no loyalty to Canada, he does not believe or share in our values, why on earth do we even care if he is in jail or not?

Derakshan is a supporter of pro nuclear, pro Islamic Regime views, he has very strong opinions and is a very well known blogger in Iran.

Why he is in jail is not even known, besides he said does not want anyone's help.

Canadian passports and supporting information you are given warns, when you are traveling or living outside Canada, Canadian laws do not apply. You are subject to laws of the country you are in.

The CBC story has no information on why this man is in jail, still this story is written as another case where Canada should be involved.

These cases are getting very annoying, and expensive, you travel to foreign countries or choose to live there, your problems are your problems.

Posted April 24, 2009 04:11 PM

Chris McNeil

Ottawa

The facts are that a Canadian citizen is in an Iranian jail for reasons that have not been revealed, and who has not been charged with any crime.

His political views are not important. He is a Canadian citizen. He is equal under the law to any other Canadian citizen, and for us to ignore this sets a precedent that we will come to regret.

The government should, at the very least, apply pressure to Iran to reveal precisely why he is incarcerated and what law he has allegedly broken.

I cannot understand the mindset of a person who would abandon a Canadian citizen to being locked up without trial by a theocratic regime with little regard for human rights, simply because that person has views you do not like.

Posted April 25, 2009 09:12 AM

RightsGuy

BC

We care because he IS a citizen and that carries rights. If we ignore those then we sink rapidly out of democracy into the abyss of the middle ages. Rights and the equal and open treatment under the law are the fundamental bedrock of our society.

Posted April 25, 2009 02:06 PM

Dan Yaroshuk

Any Candian embassy abroad does nothing. They just go out for coffee, get pay for their good time. I went to China 2002 for my wife's visa, I could not get Canadian talked with me in English. I'd been waiting for there for 2 hours and got somebody talk to me, I asked them if I have emergency need their help, what they would do, they said " you are a adult, you behave yourself, we won't responsible for you for anything." I was born in Canada, that time I need them help, but I was like orphen there. You want to government help you, forget about that! We pay tax to them, we feed them, that's how they treat us!

Posted April 25, 2009 11:07 PM

Canadian eh??

Alberta

The term Canadian means different things to different people. I have NO time or SYMPATHY for people who USE Canada as a Flag of Convenience. Sorry I concur with a previous poster.. WTF was he thinking?

Why did he receive citizenship? So he can hide under the Canadina banner? Same thing with the Lebanese evacuation... Don't ask for MY taxes to wipe your asses..

We need to abolish CItizenship of convenience...

You Pays your Money You takes Your Chances Stop whining to the Government if you lose...


Posted April 26, 2009 01:33 PM

Robert W.

Dear Mandy,

Your slanderous remark is beyond despicable. Just because you wake up every morning seething hatred for Stephen Harper doesn't give you the right to make up your own facts.

Beyond pathetic!

Posted April 27, 2009 01:32 AM

Doug Roberts

Hossein Derakshan, for whatever reason, is a Canadian citizen. If our government ignores him and avoids actively assisting him, we can expect they will do the same for all of us. Either you are a citizen or you aren't. There is no middle ground.

Posted April 29, 2009 12:03 AM

James

Vancouver

"It is quite clear, and has been for some time, that our government doesn't like brown people and human rights and democracy depend on your gender and your colour."

Don't forget that our government has no problem when countries lock up white people for saying the wrong thing. When has our government ever criticized European nations for throwing people in jail for saying that they don't necessarily believe the mainstream account of the Nazi atrocities?

The evidence is that our government cares little for free speech, whether by black or brown or white people, unless it suits their purposes.

Posted April 29, 2009 10:37 AM

Don simpson

Edmonton

Years of liberal government, do nothing, say nothing foreign policy have left us with an international image, euqivalent to that of a pushhover. Resultingly our citizens rights are never respected abroad. The conservatives are now left to pick up the pieces of this broken legacy, I wish them the best in all their efforts to repatriate Canadians imprissoned abroad whom are worthy of that obligation we owe them.

Posted April 29, 2009 01:05 PM

Dave in Surrey

Surrey

I'd assume if this guy won a gold at the Olympics our right wing neo-conservative crowd wouldn't care how he became a Canadian and refer to him as a Canadian...

You are considered a Canadian only if you think and act like a Conservative and obey the holy Harper...

Posted April 29, 2009 06:18 PM

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