Canada Very Concerned over Reports of Iran’s Sentencing of Blogger Hossein Derakhshan

(No. 316 - September 29, 2010 - 9:40 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern over reports that the Iranian authorities have sentenced Canadian-Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan to 19 years in prison:

“We are deeply concerned by reports of this severe sentence against Mr. Derakhshan. Canadian officials continue to seek confirmation of the reports from Iran.

“If true, such a sentence is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable.

“Mr. Derakhshan’s situation is complicated by his dual nationality, which is not recognized by the Iranian authorities. Iran must release him and other dual nationals who have been unjustly detained.

“Canada is using diplomatic and all other available channels to gain access to Mr. Derakhshan and to ensure that his legal rights are respected.

“We continue to strongly urge Iran to fully respect all of its human rights obligations, including freedom of expression, both in law and in practice.”

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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