Do you remember Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi?
Back in 2003, for the egregious sin of practicing journalism in Iran’s capital city, Ms. Kazemi was arrested by the Tehran police and then, while incarcerated, she was subsequently beaten, tortured, raped and murdered.
Tehran’s police chief at the time was Morteza Talaei; previously, he was an officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the terrorist group that shot down a Ukranian plane in 2020, killing all 138 passengers plus crew. Of the deceased, 55 were Canadian citizens.
So, you would think someone like Morteza Talaei would top Canada’s most wanted list. Apparently, that is either not the case — or Canadian law enforcement and/or the border guards screwed up big time.
That’s because Talaei flew into Canada recently for a little holiday. Indeed, he was spotted working out at a swank Richmond Hill, Ont., gym before buggering off back to Iran.
Yet, the question arises: how did this happen?
Iranian ex-patriates are outraged that this person was able to fly into Canada without any inconvenience.
To voice their displeasure, a small group of these ex-pats recently protested outside the constituency office of Richmond Hill MP Majid Jowhari, someone who, incredibly, is a supporter of the Iranian regime. Neither Jowhari nor a staff member would address the protesters who were led by Nasser Pooli, an outspoken critic of his former homeland.
So it was that I reached out to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada on Feb. 2 to get some much-needed answers.
I wanted to know how Talaei got into Canada in the first place. I also wanted to know if there was a Canadian arrest warrant out for this individual. IRCC spokeswoman Jelena Jenko said she’d look into it and get back to me.
But a response to my queries was never forthcoming.
Every couple of days, I would email Ms. Jenko, asking if she had been able to track down the answers I was seeking. Her du rigueur response was that she needed more time. Days dragged into weeks, and at time of writing, I have yet to receive a response from Ms. Jenko — a pathetic bureaucrat who works at a pace that would make a snail resemble a cheetah.
However, the National Post got wind of this story, too. And it made for front-page news in last Saturday’s edition.
The author of Post story also reached out to IRCC. And he did receive feedback, because I guess when you are a government-funded media outlet the government-employed spokesthingys respond in a far quicker fashion.
But the response provided to the National Post journalist from IRCC spokesman Jeffrey MacDonald is equal parts outrageous and disgraceful. You see, MacDonald said his department couldn’t comment on the case because of “privacy laws.”
That’s right: privacy laws. And so it is that privacy — even for a foreign national who was allegedly complicit in the rape and murder of a Canadian citizen — trumps public safety.
Alas, when it comes to the Justin Trudeau Liberals, so much for “standing on guard for thee”…