NEWS

Supreme Court to rule whether Zahra Kazemi's son can sue Iran

10/10/2014 05:00 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST
Zahra Kazemi's son will find out from the Supreme Court of Canada this morning whether he can overcome state immunity and sue the government of Iran, as well as key Iranian officials, for allegedly torturing and killing his mother.

Stephan Hachemi, Kazemi's son, has devoted the past decade raising awareness about his mother's story since her death in 2003.

Kazemi, an Iranian-born Canadian photographer, was arrested and detained in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran in 2003. She was allegedly tortured and sexually assaulted by Iranian officials. She later died of her injuries. Her body was never returned to Canada.

Hachemi and Kazemi's estate filed a civil lawsuit seeking damages for her death in 2006, but the Iranian government, citing the principle of state immunity, argued it is exempt from pursuit in Canadian courts.

The State Immunity Act prohibits lawsuits against foreign states in Canadian courts.

Hachemi countered with a constitutional challenge arguing that if the act barred their claims, it would be going against the Canadian Bill of Rights as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Canadian government intervened, saying if Hachemi is allowed to sue Iran, Canada could lose its immunity abroad and that relations with other countries could suffer.

The case went to the Supreme Court last December following a ruling in 2012 from the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Hachemi has been waiting for a ruling since.

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