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A brief history of events

In May, 2008, Hamid, a Canadian citizen, left Toronto to visit his elderly mother in Tehran. Thereafter, his brother, Alborz, an Iranian national, was arrested. The following day, Iranian authorities searched his mother's house, seizing Hamidís passports, credit cards and personal belongings in his absence. He immediately contacted the Canadian consulate in Tehran about his situation. They advised him that the Canadian passport was replaceable, but he would need his Iranian passport to exit Iran.

Information from Iranian authorities on when and where to collect his papers led Hamid to a designated office, where he was immediately arrested on or about May 24, 2008. I contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada in Ottawa who had been monitoring the case attempting to work through diplomatic channels with Iranian authorities to no avail. As Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, Hamid is considered solely Iranian by the government of Iran, therefore Hamid was not afforded consular access.

The evidence used against Hamid and Alborz was purported to be an email that Hamid would have sent to his brother Alborz. Hamid neither wrote nor sent such a message. Experts agreed that it was plain and obvious that the email was a complete fabrication, as the email address that was allegedly used from a popular provider had never, in fact, even existed.

Despite this, Hamid and Alborz were in solitary confinement for 18 months until the end of November 2009 when they were transferred to a general population section in Tehran's Evin prison. The relief did not last long: on January 20 2010 I was notified that Hamid's brother Alborz died in prison, reportedly of stomach cancer. Our families were inconsolable and we were desperate to save Hamid's life obtain Hamid's safe return home.

On September 7, 2012, Hamid's situation became more grave as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government suspended diplomatic relations with Iran, cutting off direct channels of communication with Iranian diplomats.

Thanks to the help, support and intervention of countless of thousands of volunteers in Canada and around the world, as of October 10, 2013 Hamid is now free and back at home in Canada.

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With deepest gratitude for your help,
Antonella Mega

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