Court Allows Son of Slain Photojournalist to Sue Iran

The son of a Canadian photojournalist who was tortured and killed in an Iranian prison in 2003 will be allowed to proceed with a $17 million claim against the government of Iran, the Montreal Gazette has reported.

Stephan Hashemi, son of the murdered photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, filed suit against Iran, its supreme leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei and two government officials who allegedly authorized the torture of Kazemi. A Canadian citizen, she was arrested for taking photographs in Tehran during a student protest.

An Iranian doctor who has fled the country said in 2005 that he examined Kazemi after her arrest and saw evidence that she had been beaten and sexually assaulted, according to the Gazette.

The government of Iran sued to block the Hashemi’s lawsuit last year, citing Canada’s State Immunity Act that protects foreign governments from civil claims in Canadian courts.

But a Superior Court judge in Quebec has allowed Hashemi’s claim to go forward on the grounds that it is “a rare exception,” the Gazette reported. The newspaper also said that the decision is subject to appeal, so it may be years before Hashemi’s claim is heard, if at all.

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