A Conservative senator is calling out the federal Liberal government over its response to reports that an Iranian-Canadian university professor has died while in custody in Iran.
The semi-official ILNA news agency says Iranian lawmakers have stated that Kavous Seyed-Emami took his own life while behind bars and that part of the incident was captured on CCTV footage.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy in Iran, was quoted as saying Seyed-Emami’s family had “accepted” the suicide finding and did not ask for an autopsy.
“The video showed that Seyed-Emami takes his shirt off and prepares for suicide,” Boroujerdi said.
Omar Alghabra, Canada’s parliamentary secretary for consular affairs, tweeted that the Canadian government was “concerned” about the circumstances of the death and had “asked” Iran for answers.
That prompted a strong response from Sen. Linda Frum, who wondered on Twitter why Ottawa wasn’t taking a harder line in demanding to know what happened.
“‘Concerned’?! How about outraged?” Frum tweeted. “‘Asked’ for answers? How about demanding the immediate releases [sic] of his body to Canada?”
“Concerned” ?! How about outraged. “Asked” for answers? How about demanding the immediate releases of his body to Canada? https://t.co/fHDGFhnmwo
Considering that he was a university professor, Seyed-Emami was being kept in a proper cell, Boroujerdi said. “Unfortunately, Kavos Seyed-Emami, for whatever reason, could not bear the prison conditions,” he added.
The semi-official Fars news agency quoted a spokesman for the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, as saying, “The issue is quite clear because [Seyed-Emami] prepares his shirt as a rope to commit suicide.”
Seyed-Emami tried to make it appear to guards that he was asleep, Hosseini added.
Frum, however, isn’t buying it.