Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Iranian Anti-Sharia Law Activist No Longer Facing Deportation to Iran

NOII-Toronto is pleased to announce that S., a young Iranian woman who feared torture and imprisonment if deported to Iran is no longer facing deportation. Thanks to amazing community-led mobilizations as well as the legal work provided by Jackie Esmonde from the Law Offices of Roach & Schwartz, S. can finally begin to build a life in her new homeland.

After escaping an abusive marriage she had lived in Canada for almost five years. While in Canada, she became an outspoken critic of Islamic arbitration and was an active member of women's groups opposing the introduction of Sharia Law in Ontario courts.

Thanks to everyone who supported S. in her case.

An Iranian woman was in a Toronto court Thursday pleading not to be deported to Iran for fears she will be tortured.

The woman, who cannot be identified because she fears persecution, says she will be punished for speaking out against Islamic Shariah law.

"I might (go to) jail, they might hang me, as we heard about that girl a few months ago," she told CTV's Galit Solomon before breaking down in tears. "I don't know, I don't know what to do."

The woman fled Iran five years ago after divorcing her husband. She has been fighting for refugee status in Canada, but has been denied.

"I hope the judge just gives the answer (to) me because I'm tired," said the woman, who now makes her home in Toronto.

The woman's lawyer, Thomas Richards, is arguing the refugee denial be overturned based on a risk assessment conducted several months ago.

"We're also asserting that the Tehran government has informants here in Canada who are informing back to Tehran in the same way that the Canadian government has informants all over the world, and I lived in China and I met many of them," Richards said.

"So to say that we have to prove that there are Iranian informants or intelligence agents operating in Toronto, I believe to be a farce."

The judge listened to the case for about an hour. She will spend the next few days reviewing the evidence. A decision is expected next week.