POLITICS
03/08/2018 07:16 EST | Updated 03/08/2018 07:17 EST

Chrystia Freeland Demands Professor's Widow Be Allowed To Leave Iran

Kavous Seyed-Emami was an Iranian-Canadian professor who died at Tehran's notorious Evin prison earlier this year.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons Dec. 12, 2017.
Chris Wattie / Reuters
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons Dec. 12, 2017.

Canada's foreign affairs minister says she is "outraged" that the wife of an Iranian-Canadian professor who died in prison in Tehran has been prevented from leaving Iran.

Chrystia Freeland tweeted Wednesday evening that she is demanding that Maryam Mombeini "be given the freedom to return home" to Canada.

Kavous Seyed-Emami was a 63-year-old sociology professor who died at Tehran's notorious Evin prison earlier this year.

Iranian authorities have said Seyed-Emami's death was a suicide, but the family and others have questioned that finding.

Samid Lofti/Center for Human Rights in Iran/The Canadian Press
Kavous Seyed-Emami Seyed-Emami was a professor of sociology at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran and the managing director of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation.

The family's supporters distributed an email from his son on Wednesday that said he and his brother were allowed to leave Iran.

In it, Ramin Seyed-Emami says his mother was "banned from leaving the country" at the last minute.

Seyed-Emami, a musician who performs under the stage name King Raam, says he and his family have been living in "complete chaos and terror" since his father's death.

He says he was allowed to leave the country and is scheduled to arrive in Vancouver on Thursday morning.

Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

Seyed-Emami was a professor of sociology at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran and the managing director of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation. He had been arrested on Jan. 24.

Last month, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said authorities had arrested several unidentified people on suspicion of spying under the cover of scientific and environmental projects.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2015 election campaign to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, but a brutal crackdown on widespread unrest in that country late last year prompted opposition calls for the government to reconsider.

Conservative Sen. Linda Frum has said Canada should have demanded an independent autopsy performed by Canadian examiners in Seyed-Emami's death.

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