Statement by Minister Cannon on Iran’s Continued Imprisonment of Bahá’í and Other Prisoners

(No. 401 - December 17, 2010 - 10:45 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the Government of Iran’s continuing imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders and the ongoing denial of legal rights to other Iranians:

“I note with regret the reports that Iranian authorities are continuing the imprisonment of the seven Bahá’í community leaders whose 10-year sentence was announced in September 2010.

“These individuals have been held without cause for 28 months in harsh conditions at Gohardasht Prison. The accusations against them reflect a deliberate distortion of their religion and their service to the community. Canada maintains that any imprisonment on such charges is too long and that these individuals should be released unconditionally and reunited with their families as soon as possible.

“Canada remains deeply concerned by the ongoing failure of the Iranian authorities to meet their domestic and international legal obligations. The Government of Canada stands firmly with the people of Iran against human rights abuses and discrimination, as well as ill treatment of women and minorities.

“We once again urge the Government of Iran to reverse the deterioration of its human rights situation and to meet its legal obligations, which include ensuring due process for all those who remain in detention.”

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

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

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