A B.C. MP has become the political sponsor for a young Iranian man whose execution for protesting that country's regime could come at any day. Negar Mojtahedi reports.
Another young man in Iran is reportedly facing imminent execution for protesting against the government.
A B.C. MP is hoping his status can shine a light on Mohammed Ghobodloo, who is only 22 years old.
John Aldag, the MP for Cloverdale-Langley, is Ghobodloo’s political sponsor. That’s when politicians use their status to put pressure on the Islamic Republic, take on the responsibility of the political prisoner and amplify their voice.
Aldag told Global News that advocating for Ghobodloo is personal.
“I am feeling a very personal connection. Mohammed is the same age as my son so I can relate as a parent. It is absolutely terrifying to think that anyone in the world can be imprisoned without a fair trial and sentenced to death,” he said.
At this moment, we are all #MohammadGhobadlou. Help me amplify his name and stop the senseless yet imminent execution of another individual by the Iranian regime. @ICHRI @IranCanadaHCP @Fr_Bechieau @C_AB_ @SafaiDarya @PeterDeRoover1 @NazaninBoniadi pic.twitter.com/Cdh9yzLgis
— John Aldag (@jwaldag) January 12, 2023
Ghobdoloo suffers from bipolar disorder and according to his family, he has been denied his medication. A video of his mother pleading outside Rajaei-Shahr prison, about 20 kilmoeters outside of Tehran, for the regime to spare his life has gone viral with Angelina Jolie and Amnesty International posting it to social media.
The international community must take urgent action to stop further executions in Iran. pic.twitter.com/zsH4RHwWtL
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) January 11, 2023
Aldag said watching the video of Ghobodloo’s mother breaks his heart and gives him, even more, resolve to push for justice for his political sponsor and his family.
Ghobodloo is one of hundreds of people facing the same fate as him.
A Norway- based human rights organization, Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO), reported this week that at least 109 protestors are currently at risk of execution or facing the death penalty in Iran.
That prompted dozens of Iranian Canadians to protest outside the office of North Vancouver MP Johnathan Wilkinson, who is also a political sponsor of Iranian political prisoners.
They say enough is enough and are demanding the federal government do more to put pressure on the Islamic Republic to put an end to executions.
Human Rights activist Soushiant Zanganehpour, who campaigned to have the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) labelled a terrorist entity in Canada, said the federal government can and should do more.
He said the government of Canada has the power to sanction judges and prosecutors involved in the death sentences of protestors and should apply that kind of pressure.
“The Islamic Republic is trying to test the international backlash that they may receive,” he told Global News.
Zanganehpour added “no more condemnation. Words are empty. We need clear red lines. Clear reaction to the action of this government.”
He said this is the political demand of Iranian Canadians who are a large constituency of the government. The executions he said are having severe negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of the Iranian-Canadian community at large.
Vancouver resident Maryam Malekpour spent 11 years campaigning for her brother, Vancouver resident Saeed Malekpour, who spent five of those years on death row. He was arrested in 2008 after visiting his dying father in Iran. Saeed was locked up on spurious charges and tortured.
She said the key to successfully getting her brother released was keeping his story alive.
Her advice to these families is that silence is not the answer.
“We have to be their voice and support them and much as we can by raising awareness.”
Maryam said she can relate to these families.
For now, Aldag is getting reports that Ghobodloo could be hanged to death any moment now.
He’s demanding the Islamic Republic spare the 22-year-old’s life and the many others waiting for the same fate.
Aldag said he won’t give up and hopes the pressure he’s bringing forward along with other politicians may actually save Ghobodloo’s life.
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