Credits: FILE PHOTO
OTTAWA - The federal government is asking Iran to spare the noose for a Canadian citizen convicted of espionage.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs urged clemency on compassionate and humanitarian grounds in the case of Hamid Ghassemi-Shall.
Ghassemi-Shall was arrested in Iran in 2008 while visiting relatives and accused and subsequently convicted of espionage.
The Toronto man, who holds dual Iranian and Canadian passport, has been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since, the same jail where Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi was raped and murdered in 2003.
Gloria Nafziger, with Amnesty International, said Monday its still unclear why Ghassemi-Shall was arrested in the first place and what evidence the regime used against him.
"One of the main concerns is he hasn't had a fair trial and he has received a death sentence," she said.
She also said there has been reports he has been treated "harshly" during his four years of captivity.
"The word Evin and torture are essentially synonymous," she said.
The federal government has expressed concern over Ghassemi-Shall's case for years, but relationship between the two countries are strained and Iran doesn't recognize dual citizenship.
Despite the concern, the Islamic republic appears set to hang Ghassemi-Shall, Nafziger urged Canadians to continue to write to Iran to appeal to remove him from death row.