Canada Concerned over Reports of Iran's Sentencing of Human Rights Activist

(No. 13 - January 11, 2011 - 1:40 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada's concern over reports of a lengthy jail sentence for Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh:

"The Iranian authorities have reportedly sentenced human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison, and banned her from practising law or leaving the country for 20 years. We are deeply concerned by these reports. Such a sentence is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable.

"Ms. Sotoudeh has tirelessly defended women's rights activists, anti-government dissidents and journalists in Iran and also represented Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. She has worked to defend people accused of political crimes and was a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a rights association co-founded by Ms. Ebadi.

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

"We once again urge the Government of Iran to reverse the deterioration of human rights in its country.

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

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
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
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