Case # 35034
Estate of the Late Zahra Kazemi, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al. (March 18, 2014)
In 2003, Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian citizen and photographer, was arrested and detained while in Iran. She was allegedly tortured and sexually assaulted by State authorities in Iran and later died of her injuries. Mrs. Kazemi’s Estate and her son each filed a civil liability claim in Quebec against Iran. The claims of the Estate were for damages for the pain and suffering of Mrs. Kazemi in relation to her abuse, torture and death. Exemplary and punitive damages were also sought by both the Estate and the son. The Iranian respondents brought a motion to dismiss the actions. The respondents alleged that the actions were barred by the principle of state immunity, set out at section 3 of the State Immunity Act. As a general principle, the State Immunity Act prohibits lawsuits against foreign states before Canadian courts. The appellant countered with a constitutional challenge alleging that the the act violates his Charter rights.