Minister Cannon Concerned Over Syria’s Detention of Haytham al-Maleh

(No. 322 - October 29, 2009 - 3 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding Syria’s arrest and detention of respected human rights lawyer Haytham al-Maleh:

"Canada is deeply concerned over the unjustified arrest and detention of Haytham al-Maleh, as well as the poor conditions in which he is being held, including lack of access to medication and medical care.

"We are further troubled that Mr. al-Maleh’s case is part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests and detentions in Syria. It follows the recent arrests of human rights lawyers Khalil Matouk and Muhannad al-Hassani and the closure of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.

"Canada urges Syria to release Mr. al-Maleh and other political prisoners immediately, and to demonstrate a commitment to human rights.

"Canada continues to call for respect for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the world."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada