Canada Concerned by Iran's Ongoing Detention of Bahá'i Leaders

(No. 6 - January 8, 2010 - 4 p.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada's concern over Iran's continued detention of seven leaders of the country's Bahá'i community:

"Canada remains deeply concerned by Iran's ongoing arbitrary detention of seven Bahá'i community leaders. It is deplorable that these individuals were detained on the sole basis of their faith and have been denied a fair trial.

"Canada notes that the seven Bahá'is—Behrouz Tavakkoli, Saeid Rezaie, Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naemi and Mahvash Sabet—have been detained since the spring of 2008.

"Furthermore, Iranian officials have recently made statements linking the seven to political unrest. These are unfair accusations, and cause concern for the safety and well-being of the seven Bahá'is and of all those unjustly detained in Iran. The Iranian government's unrelenting targeting of the Bahá'i and other religious and ethnic minorities, particularly after the country's June 12 presidential elections, is a troubling trend.

"We once again urge Iran to protect the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and to live up to its commitments and obligations under domestic and international law."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874