Statement by Minister Cannon on Makhtal Sentencing in Ethiopia

(No. 212 - July 31, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the upcoming sentencing of Bashir Makhtal in Ethiopia:

“The Government of Canada is watching developments in the case of Bashir Makhtal very closely, both in Ottawa and through the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia.

“We have intervened with the highest levels of the Government of Ethiopia on Mr. Makhtal’s behalf on numerous occasions to insist on regular consular access, and that he receive access to legal counsel and due process.

“While Ethiopian authorities have granted very limited access to Mr. Makhtal, our consular officers have provided, and will continue to provide, consular assistance to him. Consular officials have visited Mr. Makhtal as recently as July 28; his case remains a priority for the Government of Canada.

“The Government of Canada has sought assurances from the Government of Ethiopia that the death penalty will not be applied in this case. We will seek clemency for Mr. Makhtal if the death penalty is imposed.”

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