Canada Deeply Concerned by Reports of Sentencing of Iranian Bahá’í Leaders

(No. 251 - August 10, 2010 - 10:30 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern over Iran’s continued detention of seven Bahá’í community leaders and over reports that they have been sentenced to 20 years in prison:

“Canada remains deeply concerned by Iran’s ongoing detention of Behrouz Tavakkoli, Saeid Rezaie, Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naemi and Mahvash Sabet. We note that these seven Bahá’í community leaders have been detained since spring 2008.

“Canada is deeply disturbed by reports that these individuals have now been sentenced to 20-year prison terms on charges of espionage, acting against national security and being enemies of God, and that these sentences were passed without either written judgements or due process.

“Canada once again urges Iran to grant bail to the seven Bahá’í leaders and to ensure that they are accorded fair treatment, in accordance with international standards. Canada further urges Iran to protect the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“The persecution of the Bahá’í community in Iran is intolerable and deeply troubling.”

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Melissa Lantsman
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

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