Iranian Canadian’s Widow Maryam Mombeini Hospitalized Two Months After Being Banned From Leaving Iran
The wife of an Iranian Canadian academic who died in Iranian custody under suspicious circumstances in February 2018 was hospitalized for three days after exhibiting symptoms of a nervous breakdown.
“My mother had been in Pars Hospital for three days because of stress and psychological pressures caused by loneliness, depression and stress,” Mehran Seyed-Emami told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 16, 2018.
“She was dismissed this morning. But the question remains, why hasn’t she been given back her passport to allow her to leave the country and be with her children?” added Mehran Seyed-Emami, who left Iran for Canada in March 2016 with his brother, Ramin, at the urging of their mother.
“That’s the only thing that will bring her calm,” he added. “The authorities have to set aside political considerations and think about what they are doing to a mother. I don’t know how long they can put her under pressure like this.”
Maryam Mombeini tried to leave Iran for Canada on March 7 with her two sons but was banned from doing so by state authorities while waiting for a flight. No medical examiner report has been released three months after the death of her husband, environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami.
Mombeini has not been charged and no reason has been given for the travel ban.
Kavous Seyed-Emami was a sociology professor and the managing director of the Iran-based Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation NGO when he was arrested on January 24, 2018, along with several other environmentalists in a crackdown launched by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
On February 9, Mombeini went to Evin Prison thinking she would finally be able to see her husband but after being interrogated for several hours, she was told he had committed suicide in his cell.
A month later, a judicial official and state-funded media accused Seyed-Emami of engaging in espionage. These allegations were made public without an autopsy report or evidence of Seyed-Emami’s alleged wrongdoings.
No final medical examiner’s report about Seyed-Emami’s cause of death has been issued three months later but a preliminary report said he had bruising and syringe marks on his skin.
The Iranian government has ignored calls by the UN and the Seyed-Emami family for an independent investigation into his death as well as calls by the Canadian government to let Mombeini join her sons in Canada.
“Our lawyers have made numerous inquiries but unfortunately the authorities are not giving clear answers about my father’s death or my mother’s travel ban,” Mehran Seyed-Emami told CHRI.
“[Intelligence Minister] Mr. Mahmoud Alavi, a member of the presidential fact-finding commission, has expressed the view that the detained environmentalists are not spies,” he added. “That’s what (Member of Parliament) Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted,” he added.
“In yesterday’s meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign affairs, in response to questions to the intelligence minister about the reasons for the crackdown on environmental activists, the Intelligence Ministry’s counter-intelligence experts responded that they had found no evidence at all of ties to espionage,” said Sadeghi in a tweet on May 9.