CAZA calls on Prime Minister Trudeau to intervene, save environmentalists jailed in Iran from death penalty

The founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation has already died in prison

Ottawa (November 5, 2018) —Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) urges Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use his international influence to assist in the release of five environmentalists in Iran facing possible execution.

The five environmentalists, members of Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and in custody since January, have now have now had charges upgraded to national security crimes punishable by death.

It is clear to everyone—even the country’s own government—that the charges laid by the Revolutionary Guard are without merit. The Revolutionary Guard is an elite, independent force that acts independently of the government and has a huge influence within the country’s conservative-dominated judiciary.

Kavous Seyed-Emami, a renowned Canadian-Iranian environmentalist and founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, was one of nine people originally arrested in January. Mr. Seyed-Emami died in prison in February under mysterious circumstances. While authorities maintain he committed suicide, that claim has been met with widespread skepticism.

“I would respectfully remind the Prime Minister that lives are on the line and their executions are a real possibility,” said CAZA Executive Director, Dr. Susan Shafer, “These are people who work hard to protect our place on this planet. We urge the Prime Minister to step forward. He can help prevent this from becoming even more of a tragedy than it already is.”

Like CAZA, Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation is a trusted member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. Currently, Iran’s environment is under immense pressure – with drsought, land degradation, air pollution and the loss of wildlife. PWHF workers are interested documenting and solving those problems. Nothing more.

“On behalf of the accredited zoos and aquariums across Canada—environmental stewards and educators in their own right—I urge you to take immediate action,” said Dr. Shafer.

Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards-development organization in Canada. Its standards-development process includes expert opinions from researchers, biologists and academics to ensure the standards reflect the latest in animal-welfare research, organizational management and public-safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s standards bridge the ethical concerns regarding zoos and aquariums. These standards are currently the only pan-Canadian set of standards mandating zoological facilities in the country.


For more information:

Dr. Susan Shafer
Executive Director
613-627-3779 ext. 221

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