A dozen Iranian Canadians meet in North Toronto. Amongst them is Kavoos Soofi, who was freed last Friday, February 10th, 2012.
It took him a week to find the bail money, consisting of $50,000 promised, signed equity and $40,000 cash. Soofi stopped his hunger strike on February 4th, after he heard the authorities had cancelled his intended deportation from Canada. Even thought he had stopped his hunger strike on Friday night, they still kept him in a which he called a ‘hole cell’ for two days.
On Sunday February 5th, they transferred him to the Immigration General Jail. This facility has two sections, one is for immigration deportations and the other is reserved for the criminal population. The ‘hole cell’ was very cold.
At one time, Soofi asked them for extra blankets but they never offered him it. Only after January 31st, after six days, did he get an extra blanket. At this point, I stopped the interview with a question. “What else do you wish to say that you could not say to the media up until now?” It was at this juncture, Soofi handed me a two page type written note, explaining his thoughts on the matter.
All was about if my life was going to be in danger or be safe in case I was going to be deported to Iran. I was really surprised and shocked to see after all that were written in newspapers, said on the radios and shown on TVs still immigration office could think that my life was safe in Iran. I believe we forgot too soon Zahra Kazemi’s case but Said Malekpour is just happening now.
I didn’t come to Canada for a more comfortable life. I could make my living much better in Iran with less work. I didn’t come to Canada for its six month winter. I didn’t come to Canada to be humiliated and experience the life behind bars. I came to be a free man and I don’t have any doubt that there is no other place in the world that a man could be so human and free as in Canada. I know that what I am going through and all my suffering is the price that I have to pay to gain this freedom.
I don’t know what the immigration office was expecting from me in the 8 years that I was living in Canada. Did they want me to stop my life? During that time I started a business, I created relationship with people, and I was involved in lots of social and collective activities. Especially I was present in almost all demonstrations related to pro-democracy in Iran. For the first time in my life I felt I was free. I could talk. I talked even louder than others. I felt that I had to talk for those that were in Iran and didn’t have this privilege that Canada gave to me. I was everywhere, on the streets, on Facebook, on internet using my freedom …. Don’t you think that all those were enough to put my life in danger?
Immigration office thinks that Facebook and internet are not controlled and they can not be a source of danger for someone’s life. My question is what about the actual situation, when CBC exposed my case to everyone? CBC showed the pictures that I had on my Facebook related and against the regime, it showed my pictures participating in demonstration carrying signs against the regime. Can we imagine that the Iranian government still doesn’t know anything about me?
I would like to let you and others know that some Iranian media in Canada are related to Iranian government. Their presence in different demonstrations and events are not only to reports those events but also to recognize people, what a better tool than cameras
There is another point that I want to talk about. When Canada deport an Iranian to Iran, like myself who go to jail, go through hunger strike, go through all humiliations, somehow Canada is humiliating Iran and show how Iranian are sacred and hate to go back to their own country. This is just enough to make Iranian government in a situation looking for revenge to humiliate the one deported and Canada. They force the deportee to make wrong confession and invent false things against Canada. I won’t be surprised to see few of those deportees become somehow against Canada when they find themselves rejected by Canada. They came to Canada with lots of hope to find a refuge. Instead they were humiliated, they were kept in jail and forced to go back in their own country with hearts full of anger and hate. Shouldn’t we think that somehow Iranian government could use these opportunities to use these people to reach his goal to create terror and terrorists?
People asked me often why I had to go through hunger strike. My question to them was what else could I do? I was cut from the world. I went there on my own I was handcuffed and sent to jail. I couldn’t even go back to finish my unfinished jobs that I had. I couldn’t inform my landlord about my situation and organize my departure. From the moment that officer made his decisions I was considered as a public danger just like an armed criminal. I am the same person now and now I am allowed to be free, to talk to you. What happened? I don’t know. I am not saying that what ever that officer did was against the law, but my point is that we should be always aware and keep in mind at all time especially when we think that we are right that laws are for protecting people and not for offending them.
Anyway my case could finish in 3 different scenarios. The least probable case could be that was deported and nothing would happen to me. In that case I was going to owe a big apology to Canada. The most probable case could be that I was going to be deported, tortured and executed. I that case it would be too late for Canada’s sorrow and immigration office should recognize that it was involved in a crime. It couldn’t have any excuse that it didn’t know it. The third scenario the one that hopefully is going to happen is that I stay in Canada.
We have a saying in our language that it says; it’s better that 100 criminals stay uncaught instead of one innocent be executed. This is valid for me and almost for every Iranian in current situation. By law I was going to be deported on February 7th, by law that order was cancelled. We see that law can be interpreted in so many different ways. I had the chance to have my brother, my family, lots of friends and luck was with me. Not everyone is so lucky. What would then happen to them? I don’t want to talk only about myself. Now that you are giving me this opportunity to talk I want to talk for all of them. Now that Mr. Jason Kenney is talking about safe countries in his proposed new law I expect him to talk also about unsafe countries. I believe in that case Iran should be on the top of the list. I think that all deportations to Iran should be stopped right now. It’s not fair that we leave alone some human beings in the situation of waiting and imagining their deportations to such a country that is so strongly against all human rights. I went through it and I prefer not to talk about it.
You know when it comes to human rights I have a lot to say. These are things that I experienced in person; I didn’t read them in the books or newspapers. For me Canada is the symbol of human rights in the world. But when you see how people are treated you loose your hope or maybe you start to think that there are a lot left to do. In detention centre I didn’t have the right to receive books, my visits were very strict and controlled, I was cold in the cell I couldn’t have an extra blanket; I was kept in an isolated cell for 11 days. Then I was sent with 2 other people in a cell that was made for two people. I didn’t have a bed. I was sleeping on the ground with the head almost in the toilet that didn’t have a door.
If you wish to know more, please check out the link http://www.nodeportationstoiran.org/
Paul Collins, author of Mack Dunstan’s Inferno / Mystery of Everyman’s Way
Contact him on: http://www.facebook.com/#!/authorpaulcollins