Release: Iranian Refugee Mori Tameh Raising Legal Challenge to Government’s Split Security Decision

Posted by admin on Jul 12th, 2008

Mr. Momenzadeh Tameh is an accepted Convention Refugee. After 14 years in limbo, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Minister Stockwell Day recently determined that he was “inadmissible to Canada on security grounds” and denied him Ministerial Relief and thus permanent residency in Canada. This occurred despite Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) – based on information from CSIS- positively recommending that Mr. Tameh be granted Ministerial Relief to become a permanent resident  and despite CSIS, CIC, and CBSA all explicitly stating that Mr. Tameh is ‘not a danger to Canadian society.’

In light of the clear discrepancies, the Federal Court of Canada has agreed to review the matter on July 16th, 2008. According to Mr. Tameh’s lawyer Shane Molyneaux “”In light of two diverging department opinions, Minister Stockwell Day should at least provide reasons as to why one position is being preferred over another. More importantly, Minister Day has unfairly denied Mr Tameh permanent residence even though he represents no security threat, as noted by both CIC and CBSA.””

Other legal authorities familiar with this case have also challenged Minister Stockwell DayÂ’s decision. In a letter to Minister Day, Lawyer Jared Will from Montreal writes “”I am of the opinion that the decision constituted a serious error, and I am writing to ask that you reconsider.””

According to Janet Dench, Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Refugees, “We have long raised concerns that the security inadmissibility definition and process violate the rights of refugees and immigrants.””

According to Proma Tagore, member of No One Is Illegal “”It is outrageous that the Canadian government unjustly stereotypes refugees as ‘security risks’Â’and forces them to live in a state of precarity, invisibility, and disempowerment. The ever-expanding security apparatus, of which Mr. Tameh’s situation is one example, is less about protecting society than it is about creating a culture of fear and stigmatization.””

A recent June 2008 report reveals that thousands of refugees in Canada are living in legal precarity and limbo due to security checks and processes.This case is a clear demonstration of the fundamentally unfair, racist, and arbitrary nature of the post 9/11 national security apparatus in Canada that does more to create insecurity in the lives of refugees like Mr. Tameh.

According to Mr. Tameh “”This whole process has created so much stress and anxiety for me. As a political refugee who has endured severe torture, this indefinite limbo is creating further psychological torture for me. Without permanent residency, I live without full rights including being unable to travel abroad or to vote in important matters that affect me or get student loans although I live, work, volunteer, and contribute here.””

According to Carleen Pickard, BC-Yukon regional organizer of the Council of Canadians, “”It is not right that Mr. Tameh should be denied permanent residency in Canada under the seemingly arbitrary decision of Minister Stockwell DayÂ’s department.””Mr. Tameh has the support of dozens of other organizations including the Hospital Employees Union, Teaching Support Staff Union, International Iranian Federation of Refugees, as well as hundreds of letters from individuals.

Mr. Tameh was born in Tehran, Iran on April 21st, 1960 and became a supporter, not a member, of Mujahedin-E-Khalq (MEK) at the age of 19 in May 1979 (the year of the Iranian Revolution) until September 1982. Up until 1981, Mr. Tameh as a supporter of MEK was part of a legal, pro-democratic, non-violent political party in Iran that ran in federal elections. In the post- Iranian revolution period, Mr. Tameh was jailed by the Iranian government as a supporter of an opposition party and he was tortured in jail between December 1982-1986. Mr. Tameh terminated his involvement with MEK upon his arrest and jailing. In 1991, MEK contacted Mr. Tameh in order to re-recruit him, however he declined and subsequently fled to Turkey and then to Canada as an asylum-seeker.

He arrived at the Vancouver Airport on December 18th, 1993 and filed a refugee claim. He was accepted as a Convention Refugee on May 12, 1994 on the basis that the Immigration and Refuge Board member believed that he faced a well-founded fear of persecution if he were to return to Iran. As an accepted Convention Refugee, Mori then applied for Permanent Residency in May 1994.

From April 1995 to August 2001, Mr. Tameh was interviewed extensively by CSIS and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officers. In May 2005, the MEK became listed as terrorist organization in Canada, 24 years after Mr. Tameh’s involvement with MEK had terminated.

Mr. Tameh has been employed since 1994 and since 2007 has been a co-owner and operator of a small fast food restaurant. He lives with his partner, a Canadian Citizen, in a committed relationship and has established 15-year long friendships. He is also a cherished foster parent through the Foster Parents Program, through which he supports two children.  He is deeply loved by his network of friends and community members.

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