Ronald Smith sentenced to death after he admits to murdering two men, by shooting them in the head after they try to help him out, by giving him a ride in their carHamid-Ghassemi-Shall gets his name sullied by a Liberal bureaucrat who compares him to murderer Ronald Smith in an attempt to pressure the Harper government to do more to save convicted murderers who are sentenced to death in foreign countries. Hamid murdered no one. He was sentenced to death in Iran after a kangaroo court convicted him of being a spy when he visited his native Iran to see his elderly mother.
The real hypocrite in this story is Liberal bureaucrat Gar Pardy who is dishonestly comparing Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, who killed no one and whose only crime as far as I can tell is that he opposed the hardline Islamic regime, to confessed double murderer Ronald Smith. Ronald Smith gunned down two men in cold blood who were kind enough to pick him up and give him a ride when he was hitchhiking. Smith was given due process and found guilty of two unprovoked, brutal murders. One can be consistent and support Smith's death, based on his crime and at the same time oppose the murder of an innocent man in Iran who has received no due process and who the world knows is innocent.
Bill Whatcott Death row inconsistency sending 'mixed messages'
By Randy Boswell,
Postmedia News April 18, 2012
Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Death+in ... z1tahMopG1
he Canadian government's urgent appeal to stop Iran from executing a Canadian citizen imprisoned there may be blunted by its "grudging" support for another condemned Canadian - Montana death-row inmate Ronald Smith - says the former top federal bureaucrat responsible for protecting Canadian citizens abroad.
Gar Pardy, the retired head of the consular affairs division at the Department of Foreign Affairs, said the Conservative government's "hypocritical" approach to deathpenalty cases in different countries is sending a mixed message to the world and potentially impairing the efforts of diplomats to effectively lobby other jurisdictions to spare the lives of Canadians facing execution beyond our borders.
That view is echoed by the Canadian arm of Amnesty International, which is also pressing Iran to commute the death sentence of Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, an Iranianborn Canadian citizen accused of espionage in his birth country and held in jail there since 2008.
"Canada is gravely concerned by indications that the execution of Mr. Ghassemi-Shall may be carried out imminently," Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Consular Affairs Minister Diane Ablonczy said in a joint statement issued Sunday.
"Canada urgently appeals to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to grant clemency to Mr. Ghassemi-Shall on compassionate and humanitarian grounds."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also warned Iran during his trip this week to Chile that "the whole world will be watching, and they will cast judgment" if Ghassemi-Shall is executed.
But both Pardy and Aubrey Harris, Canadian co-ordinator of Amnesty's campaign to abolish the death penalty, said the government's urgent tone in the Ghassemi-Shall case contrasts so sharply with its approach in the Smith case that it undermines Canada's international messaging on capital punishment.
Canada is merely "going through the motions" in its advocacy for Smith, said Pardy, referring to a weakly worded letter Baird recently sent to the Montana parole board that drew opposition fire for making no mention of Canada's 1976 abolition of the death penalty and stressing Smith's violent history rather than his record of rehabilitation in prison.
A Foreign Affairs spokesperson also told Postmedia News last week that while the Canadian government will send an observer to Smith's clemency hearing in Montana on May 2, no federal representative will voice Canada's opposition to the death penalty in principle.
"Canadian courts and Canadian law have long recognized the death penalty as a violation of human rights," said Harris, arguing that Canada's stance should be consistently and insistently against capital punishment in all cases where Canadian citizens are at risk of execution.
"When a Canadian is at risk of the death penalty there is therefore an obligation - morally and in many instances legally - for the Canadian government to speak out and act to protect the rights of Canadians."
In 2007, the Conservative government abruptly announced it was halting Canada's long-standing efforts to win clemency for Smith, who had confessed to killing two Montana men in 1982 but went on to wage a long legal battle to avoid execution.
At the time of the policy change - justified by Harper as more consistent with his party's tough-oncrime agenda - the government said it would judge future clemency bids on a "case-by-case basis" and that Canadians sentenced to death in democratic countries with the rule of law (such as the U.S.) would no longer automatically get diplomatic support to avoid execution.
In 2009, however, the Federal Court of Canada ruled the government's handling of the Smith case "unlawful" and ordered it to resume lobbying Montana authorities to spare the Alberta-born killer's life.
While the Canadian government has since complied with that court order, the evident lack of intensity in its efforts on Smith's behalf has sparked criticism.
Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International-Canada, described Baird's letter to Montana as "deeply disappointing."
The federal NDP's justice critic, Jack Harris, called it a "deplorable" indication of the Conservative government's ambivalent stance on capital punishment, and Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc said the "weak" and "cynical" letter could effectively sink Smith's bid to avoid death by lethal injection.
Pardy said Canadian diplomats' "hands are tied" when it comes to lobbying their foreign counterparts to spare a Canadian citizen's life.
If the Canadian government loudly and automatically advocated against capital punishment in all cases, said Pardy, it would make it easier for Canadian officials abroad to do their job.
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