Upon arriving in Vancouver, Canada, on March 8, 2018, the sons of Kavous Seyed-Emami–the Iranian-Canadian academic who died in Tehran’s Evin Prison last month–issued a statement about the “chaotic ordeal” they have suffered at the hands of the Iranian Judiciary and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps since their father was pronounced dead on February 9.
In addition to harassing the remaining family members, the authorities today prevented Kavous Seyed-Emami’s wife from traveling to Canada with her sons. The passport of Maryman Mombeini was confiscated at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport before she could board the Vancouver-bound plane with her sons.
“To separate my mother from her two sons at such a time is cruel and inhumane. Today is International Women’s Day, where we should be honoring women and mothers,” wrote Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami in the statement obtained by by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The brothers added that their lives have been thrown into “chaos and terror” since their family was told Kavous Seyed-Emami committed “suicide” in his cell’s bathroom. The family and UN human rights experts have called for an independent investigation into Seyed-Emami’s case.
In a statement issued today, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Canadian government calls “on the Government of Iran to immediately give Maryam Mombeini, a Canadian citizen, the freedom to return home.”
“We will continue to demand answers from the Government of Iran on the circumstances surrounding the detention and death of Mr. Seyed-Emami,” added the statement.
Read the full statement below.
On behalf of the Seyed Emami family, we would like to thank everyone who has stood by us during these difficult times. To be at the receiving end of so much kindness and love is overwhelming and a testament to what our father stood for. To lose a father who was so kind and caring, under such heart-wrenching circumstances, would have been impossible to endure without such support.
Instead of being able to grieve the loss of our father in peace, we have been forced to endure constant threats and harassment by the Iranian authorities. During the early hours of March 8, our mother was also banned from leaving the country just before we boarded our flight to Vancouver, Canada. They are trying to prevent us from rebuilding our lives together.
Needless to say, the emotional damage and distress we’ve endured are beyond comprehension. To separate my mother from her two sons at such a time is cruel and inhumane. Today is International Women’s Day, where we should be honouring women and mothers.
The authorities have also confiscated our mother’s Iranian passport to intimidate us into being silent about our father’s case. But we will not be silenced, and we will share our story with the hope that fellow Iranians and Canadians speak up, too.
We are very grateful for the support we have received from Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and hope that it will be the first step towards Canada putting serious pressure on the Iranian government to immediately allow our mother to travel and be with us as soon as possible. We would also like to thank other Canadian officials, especially from Global Affairs Canada and also Willowdale MP Ali Ehsasi, who kept the line of communication open with us at all times during this nightmare.
This chaotic ordeal—starting with our father’s unexpected arrest, the raiding of our home, and our father’s subsequent death, followed by smear campaigns, harassment and threats—has only been intensified now that the authorities have not allowed our mom to leave the country.
We hope that the Iranian authorities’ inexcusable treatment of its innocent citizens will result in diplomatic and international consequences to show the responsible parties in the Iranian government that this behavior by security agencies and the judiciary is unacceptable.
My father’s death will not be in vain. The least my brother and I can do is speak up to reveal Kavous Seyed-Emami’s story—of a kind father, a loving husband, and respected Sociology professor of 27 years. He loved his country and should have never been arrested in the first place. I know he would be proud of us now. We have chosen to speak up. We have chosen love over fear.