Family members of PS752 victims report receiving threats for denouncing Iranian regime

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Canadians who lost loved ones when Iran shot down Flight PS752 earlier this year have reported a growing number of threats warning them against criticism of Iran’s response to the disaster.“These are horrific and insidious crimes, apparently orchestrated at the behest of a foreign power. This is something that would bother all Canadians, ”said former MP Ralph Goodale, who is acting as Canada’s special advisor to the government on the incident.

Goodale says two cases of bullying and harassment were reported to police in the spring. The number of such incidents known to authorities has now risen to 11, he said. The RCMP, local police and security organizations work with Canada’s allies around the world and take threats seriously, added Goodale.

Hamed Esmaeilion lost his nine-year-old daughter Reera and his wife Parisa when the PS752 was shot down by the Iranian military over Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people on board. He is the spokesperson for an association of families of victims in Canada demanding justice and he said he has been receiving hate messages for months.

‘Let’s talk about the last moments of your wife and daughter’

But the situation worsened after a rally he organized on Parliament Hill on October 5, he said.

A suspicious vehicle strolled outside his house that night, stopping in front of his driveway and then backing up, Esmaeilion said. He also reported receiving a suspicious phone call on October 5 from someone who left a message saying, “Let’s talk about your wife and daughter’s last moments.”

Esmailion said he blocked the number but received a threat in Farsi via his Instagram account later that same day: “Your name is on a terror list, so enjoy your life before you get killed. . And you would be a lesson for foreigners. traitors. ”

Esmailion said he met with the RCMP on Friday and was told to keep track of the other calls.

“It doesn’t scare me, honestly,” he told CBC. “It’s something we’ve been through since the start and especially in May and June… It was, I think, the peak of the insulting and hateful messages I received. ”

He said he believed the messages were coming from both Iran and Canada, but he was unsure whether they came from representatives of the Iranian regime or just its supporters.

Mahmoud Zibaie, who also lost his wife and daughter when PS752 was shot, told CBC News he received a call from someone identifying himself as the Iranian military tribunal’s chief investigator in charge of the trial in compensation launched against the regime.

Mahmoud Zibaie’s wife Shahrzad Hashemi, left, and daughter Maya Zibaie, both perished on flight PS752. (Submitted)

Zibaie said the appellant told him he had to return to Iran to participate in the reparations action. He said compensation was at the bottom of the list of what he expects from Iran.

“In a way, I can say I can see him as a threat because he… kept telling me, ‘Okay, we have to see each other. You must return to Iran. You have to come here and you have to take legal action, ”he said.

Zibaie said he plans to share the audio of that call with the RCMP.

Javad Soleimani of Edmonton lost his wife in the flight. He said he did not take the threats seriously because he no longer had any family in Iran but worried about those with family in their home who might be the target of harassment or harassment. persecution.

“These threats and family harassment, in fact, have been going on from the very beginning,” Soleimani told CBC News. “To hijack the funeral routine, to write congratulations on your martyrdom on the coffins, and also… to detain your family members in Iran. “

Javad Soleimani and his wife, Elnaz Nabiyi, who were killed when Iran shot down flight PS752. (Photo submitted)

“I think it’s a national threat to Canada,” he said. “I think the only way to deal with this intimidation or threats or concerns for families is for the Canadian government to more publicly support the families of the victims. ”

Goodale said the federal government takes the threat very seriously.

“It is an offense against Canada, it is a crime under the Criminal Code, and foreign interference attacks the very sovereignty and integrity of our country. So he is effectively treated with the seriousness he deserves, ”he said.

The RCMP today released a statement saying they are “aware of allegations of intimidation of grieving families from PS752 and we take these complaints seriously.”

“While we cannot comment on individual cases, Canadians and all people living in Canada, regardless of nationality, should feel safe and free from criminal activity,” the statement said. .

Watch: Hamed Esmaeilion describes the threats he received after being openly against Iran:

Hamed Esmaeilion lost his wife and daughter when flight PS752 was shot down in January. He describes the threats he received for denouncing the Iranian regime. 1:25

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