Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall

Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall

March 20, 2008 10:00 ET

Canadian Immigrant in Iraq Protected by U.S. Tanks Wants to Stay

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2008) - A 28-year old former immigrant to Canada, who gave up the good life with her family in Toronto to move to Iraq to fight against the Iranian fundamentalist regime, is at the centre of a growing diplomatic storm between Iraq and Iran that now includes Canada.

In 1997, Ms. Somaiyeh Mohammady, a permanent resident of Canada, departed Canada with the support of her parents to go to Iraq where she joined the People's Mujaheedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).

Ms. Mohammady believes that the Iranian regime and its notorious Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) has deployed her Canadian parents in a disinformation campaign in order to silence her or treat her the same way they treated Ms. Zahra Kazemei. Ms. Zahra Kazemi was an Iranian-Canadian journalist who in July 2003 was arrested outside the notorious Evin prison while taking pictures of public protests there, and was later killed.

Suspected of being supported by the Iranian fundamentalist regime, Ms. Mohammady's parents have for years tried to prove that she had been brainwashed and held against her will, kidnaped by the PMOI. Without her consent, her parents even brought an application before a Canadian tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board, to try and secure her return to Canada. The judicial hearing was held in Toronto on 9 May 2006. The parent's strategy failed. Ms. Mohammady testified from Iraq by phone, under oath, and in the presence only of a U.S. Commander, that she was fine in Iraq, comfortable amongst her colleagues of the PMOI, and had no intention whatsoever of returning to Canada. The Canadian Immigration Tribunal ruled on 19 September 2006 that Ms. Mohammady had joined the ranks of the PMOI voluntarily and with the consent of her parents. The Tribunal further ruled that it was clear that Ms. Mohammady was a long-time committed member of the PMOI and that she wished to remain with her PMOI colleagues in the comfort of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, rather than return to Canada as was, and continues to be, the wishes only of her parents. The Canadian judicial proceeding reviewed all of the evidence, and concluded that Ms. Mohammady had not been brainwashed nor was she being held against her wishes.

Despite the ruling, the parents of Ms. Mohammady have again recently gone to Baghdad. Suspected of more support from the Iranian regime which will do anything to undermine the PMOI, the parents have now pursued a public campaign to try to denounce the PMOI and their own daughter.

Ms. Mohammady has met with her parents 9 times during the last 5 years, all of them to reassure them that she is fine and in no rush to leave Iraq and her duties with the PMOI. The last such meeting was held on 8 December 2007, during which Ms. Mohammady asserted: "I have no intention whatsoever to leave Ashraf. My decision to remain is based upon my commitment to the principles of establishing a democracy in Iran that respects human rights. It is from here in Iraq that I am able to fight for such justice."

Two senior Canadian officials from the Embassy for Canada in Amman, Jordan traveled to Iraq on 24 January 2008 to meet with Ms. Mohammady in Camp Ashraf. The purpose of the trip was to interview Ms. Mohammady independently, to once again determine if there is any credibility to the allegations of her parents. The Canadian officials offered Ms. Mohammady facilitated return to Canada, which she declined. Following that meeting, the senior officials went to Baghdad to confirm with Ms. Mohammady's parents her strong and freely expressed will to remain in Iraq, in Ashraf, among the ranks of the PMOI. It is thought that the Canadian officials also recommended to Ms. Mohammady's parents that they end their wrongful campaign and depart Iraq.

Today, Mr. Craig Bale, Consul at the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, confirmed the visit by Canadian officials to Ms. Mohammady and their report that she is healthy and happy to remain in Iraq.

Despite the clear expression of her free will, Ms. Mohammady has become the spark plug for a growing tension between Iran and Iraq, and the intervention by Iran in the internal affairs of Iraq. The PMOI are at the centre of this tension. There are regular reports in the Iraqi media about this case.

Reports by the Iraqi media indicate that under the Iranian Embassy's support an elite team of MOIS agents are lodged in the al-Mansour Hotel in Baghdad in order to pursue a plan to seize Ms. Mohammady.

Canadian lawyer Warren L. Creates, B.A., LL.B. represents Ms. Mohammady, and traveled to Ashraf in February 2004, to interview her and her PMOI colleagues, and to ascertain her circumstances. Mr. Creates, together with an impressive group of international lawyers in 15 different countries, fought and won the recognition pursuant to international law of each member of the PMOI as a "protected person" under the 4th Geneva Convention.

Letter to Canadian Embassy in Jordan dated 13 February 2008, available at the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/LETTERTOAMMAN.pdf

Contact Information

  • Warren L. Creates, B.A., LL.B.
    Head, Immigration Law Group
    Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall
    613-238-0222
    613-238-8775 (FAX)
    1400-340 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 0A5
    wcreates@perlaw.ca; www.warrencreates.com