Update on Haleh Sahba

Posted by admin on Dec 6th, 2004

December 6, 2004

Today, December 6th, a day Canada commemorates as a day of action and remembrance on violence against women, Immigration Canada has decided to deport a woman back to a country notorious for its dismal human rights record and on-going persecution of women.

Haleh Sahba is a refugee claimant in Vancouver whose case, like many other refugee claimants in Canada, has been denied despite strong evidence that if she returns to Iran she will face detention, persecution from an abusive ex-husband, and possible imprisonment. Last week, after three years of working and living in Canada with her immediate and extended family, she was told she is to be deported on Tuesday, December 7th at 10:30 am.

Today at a hearing at the Federal Court, Immigration Canada rejected her last chance to stay in Canada. Haleh Sahba was forced to come to Canada with a fake passport and if she is returned she will certainly be detained. Leaving Iran with false documents is a crime punishable by up to five years imprisonment. She is likely to be imprisoned longer due to her previous political involvement in Iran and her rejected refugee status in Canada. Immigration Canada claimed that because they would not be escorting Haleh to Iran, that she could just lie to the Iranian authorities about where she has been for the past three years.

After the hearing, Haleh’s family and supporters, the Federation of Iranian Refugees, No One Is Illegal, the Anti-Poverty Committee, the Downtown Eastside Resident’s Association, the Bus Riders Union, Stop War joined the War Resisters for a rally outside of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to protest Haleh’s deportation. Women in Haleh’s family spoke strongly about the links between the women killed in Montreal fourteen years ago and the oppression women face today in Iran.

Canada is well aware of the record of deteriorating human rights in Iran due to the Canadian government’s own investigation into the death of journalist Zahra Kazemi at the hands of Iranian authorities. But Immigration Canada is still sending Haleh, and many other Iranians back to an unsafe and potentially deadly situation. If Canada really wants to take action on violence of women, this country must stop deporting women now. Stop the deportations now!

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