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HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN: SHABNAM MADADZADEH

Honourable senators, on February 19, 2009, Shabnam Madadzadeh, a 24-year-old Iranian student, was arrested on her way to school. I want honourable senators to imagine for a moment how they would feel as parents if that happened to their child.

Shabnam was arrested for supposedly attending a party the night before that she says she did not attend. She was imprisoned for a year, during which time she was subjected to untold abuse and months of solitary confinement. Finally she was sentenced to five years in prison for heresy and anti-government activities. Shabnam is being held in the infamous Evin House of Detention, referred to as the country's Bastille.

Heartbreakingly, in April 2009, the Iranian courts issued an agreement to release Shabnam on bail, but an Iranian judge personally blocked her freedom, saying that he needed to discipline her. People are routinely tortured and killed in this prison. I want honourable senators to remember our Canadian journalist, Zahra Kazemi, who died of blunt trauma after being arrested for taking pictures in front of the prison. In other words, she was beaten to death. An autopsy revealed signs of extreme torture.

Honourable senators, as a member of the Senate of Canada, I condemn the Iranian regime's deplorable abuse of human rights and call for Shabnam Madadzadeh's immediate release.