Canada Regrets Syria’s Sentencing of Human Rights Lawyer Haytham al-Maleh

(No. 212 - July 6, 2010 - 10:30 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the Damascus military court’s July 4 sentencing of Syrian lawyer and human rights activist Haytham al-Maleh to three years in prison for “spreading false or exaggerated news that could weaken the morale of the Syrian nation,” under the Syrian Penal Code:

“Canada deeply regrets Syria’s imprisonment of Mr. al-Maleh for practising his right to peaceful and free expression. The sentence is particularly harsh in light of Mr. al-Maleh’s age and frail health.

“Canada urges Syria to immediately release Mr. al-Maleh on humanitarian grounds.”

For more information, please consult Canada Concerned Over Syria’s Sentencing of Human Rights Lawyer Muhannad al-Hassani.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Melissa Lantsman
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