Canada Condemns Iran’s Continued Imprisonment of Bahá’í Community Leaders and Denial of Prisoners’ Legal Rights

(No. 302 – September 17, 2010 – 8:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the rights of prisoners in Iran and on reports that Iran has decided to continue its imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders:

“I note with regret reports that Iranian authorities have decided to continue the imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders, while reducing their sentences from 20 to 10 years. Canada maintains that these individuals appear to have been imprisoned because of their religious beliefs and that therefore they should be released unconditionally and reunited with their families as soon as possible.

“Canada remains deeply concerned by the ongoing failure of Iranian authorities to meet their domestic and international legal obligations with respect to the rights of both Iranian and dual-nationality citizens. The use of televised confessions of questionable authenticity is one example of Iran’s attempts to intimidate its citizens, degrade individuals and prejudge the outcome of cases.

“We once again urge Iran to reverse the deterioration in its human rights situation. We also urge Iranian authorities to meet their legal obligations, including ensuring due process for all those who have been detained.

“Canada is a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

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