Terminally ill man hopes to see sister before he dies; COVID-19 restrictions grounded her in Iran for months

A terminally ill man in Cote-Saint-Luc has been allowed his dying wish -- to see his sister, who lives in Iran, before he passes away.

But COVID-19 restrictions have delayed her trip for months, and friends are concerned she might not make it in time.

In December 2020, Mohsen Namazi was given just a few months to live when doctors found the cancer in his brain and lungs had spread.

In Iran, his sister Mina began arranging for a final visit. The two haven't seen each other in more than 30 years.

But even though mina was granted an entry visa back in April, she remains in Iran, long-unable to board a plane without an exemption to Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Mina Namazi says she feels as though she hasn’t had a life for the last five months, constantly worrying about her brother’s rapidly deteriorating health.

"Unfortunately, he is at the last stage,” said Pantea Sadri, a close friend. “His sister's presence by his side could have emotionally supported him."

She says Immigration Canada has been dragging its feet on the exemption approval, and Mohsen Namazi is running out of time.

She says the process has been infuriating.

"You feel like you're in front of a machine and you're screaming for help, and nobody hears you."

After losing hope he’d have the chance to see his sister again, Namazi signed up to receive medical aid in dying last week.

"It's heartbreaking,” said Sadri, who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, begging him to allow Namazi into the country.

On Wednesday, she received a response.

His office would forward her concerns to the immigration minister. By Friday, Mina Namazi's exemption had been approved.

Namazi says she is very happy to come to Canada after all this time.

Still, she says, she feels robbed of precious time with her brother.

“When I first wanted to come, Mohsen could talk,” she said. But now he's mostly deaf and can barely see.”

“Mina could have been here since April, instead of having a few days to live with him," said Sadri.

"Trust me, it's very emotional for everybody around him.”

Immigration did not provide comment on the specifics of the case. 

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