Wife of Iranian-Canadian who died in jail barred from leaving Iran: Son

Iran’s academic community was in shock on Feb. 11, 2018 following the death of renowned environmentalist Kavous Seyed Emami, who authorities claimed committed suicide in prison a fortnight after his arrest. (Family Handout/AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Wife of Iranian-Canadian who died in jail barred from leaving Iran: Son

LONDON: The wife of an Iranian-Canadian environmental activist who died in prison in Tehran last month was barred from leaving Iran, one of her sons said, in an unexplained move that drew an angry response from Canada.
Raam Emami said in an email to journalists that security forces had not allowed his mother Maryam Mombeini to get on a plane to Vancouver with him and his brother on Wednesday night.
Mombeini is the widow of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an environmental activist and sociology professor who was arrested on Jan. 24 and died in prison. Iran’s judiciary said Seyed-Emami, 63, had committed suicide.
The family has called for independent probe into his death.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, said in a message posted on Twitter that she was “outraged” to learn that Mombeini had been barred from leaving Iran.
“We demand that, as a Canadian, she be given the freedom to return home,” she added.
Iranian judiciary officials were not immediately available for comment.
Seyed-Emami was the managing director of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which seeks to protect Iran’s rare animals. Iran’s judiciary said he had set up the NGO as a cover to collect classified information on Iran’s missile program.
Raam Emami said the family decided to leave Iran after being constantly “harassed.”
“The government raided our home and seized all of our valuables (most importantly deeds to our homes), we can no longer stand this state of constant terror,” he said.
Raam Emami has previously said that the family was under pressure from authorities not to publicize the case of Seyed-Emami.
“The authorities told our lawyers to tell the brothers ‘to shut up or we’ll shut them up,’ Emami said, adding government agents had told him they were watching him.
Human rights activists have reported that at least six detainees have died in prison in the last two months in Iran. The judiciary has confirmed three deaths in custody but said all three had committed suicide.
Bilateral ties between Iran and Canada worsened in 2003 when an Iranian-Canadian photo journalist, Zahra Kazemi, died in Tehran’s Evin prison while in custody.
Canada cut all diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012.


Jordan arrests 17 protesters against fiscal reform

Updated 15 December 2018
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Jordan arrests 17 protesters against fiscal reform

AMMAN: Seventeen Jordanians were arrested over protests against a controversial fiscal reform, a judicial source in Amman said on Friday.
The attorney general in the capital decided to “arrest 17 people who he accused of participating the previous day in a protest near the prime minister’s office and of provoking trouble which resulted in police and members of the security forces being wounded,” the source said.
Those arrested would be kept in custody for a week, the judicial source said, without specifying how many police had been wounded.
A thousand Jordanians had taken to the streets of Amman on Thursday to protest against an income tax law adopted in November under an austerity program aimed at reducing public debt.
The protesters gathered near Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz’s office, which was cordoned off by security forces.
“Down with the tax law,” read one sign, held aloft by demonstrators calling for “reforms and change.”
“We want a government of patriots, not a gang of thieves,” the protesters said.
Jordanian lawmakers on November 18 approved an IMF-backed income tax bill after making amendments to a controversial draft law that sparked a week of angry protests in June.
The original bill, which the government approved in June, raised taxes for employees by at least five percent, and on companies by between 20 and 40 percent.
These measures were left unchanged in the amended version.
But in a concession, the revised bill raises the 2019 threshold for households to pay income tax to 20,000 Jordanian dinars ($28,000) from a previous ceiling of 18,000.
The amended legislation also introduced exemptions of up to 2,000 dinars per family for basic expenses such as education and health, and 1,000 dinars per single person, if receipts are provided.
The demonstrators on Thursday chanted for the release of 24 activists local media said had been detained in smaller scale protests over the last two weeks.
With a lack of natural resources to boost state coffers, Jordan relies heavily on foreign aid and has an unemployment rate of 18.5 percent.
Stability in Jordan is seen as fundamental to the region and in the wake of the June protests Amman was offered a $2.5 billion aid package by three Gulf backers, including Saudi Arabia.