Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Family detained in U.S. granted permit to enter Canada

CBC News
Last Updated: Monday, March 12, 2007 | 6:01 PM ET

An Iranian couple and their nine-year-old Canadian son who have been held in a Texas detention centre have been given temporary residency permits to enter Canada.

A spokesman for Immigration and Citizenship Minister Diane Finley said Monday the minister granted the permit because it was in the best interest of the boy.

Kevin's parents, Majid and Masomeh, (they've asked that their last names be withheld) first arrived in Canada 10 years ago seeking asylum, but were unsuccessful and were deported to Iran in December 2005. Kevin was born as they lived in Canada.

The parents said they faced torture in Iran and made another attempt to seek refuge in Canada with the use of stolen Greek passports.

But on a flight to Toronto from Guyana on Feb. 4, a passenger suffered a heart attack and died, causing the plane to be diverted to Puerto Rico.

U.S. officials discovered their false documents and detained the family for five days before sending them to the T. Don Hutto detention centre near Austin, Texas, a converted medium-security prison that has been condemned by human rights groups and is the subject of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

A lawyer for the family says it will now fall to the Canadian and U.S. governments to negotiate the family's transfer to Canada.