Canada Disappointed with Bahrain’s Decision in Naser Al-Raas Case

January 26, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today made the following statement on learning that the five-year sentence imposed on Canadian Naser Al-Raas has been upheld:

“We are extremely disappointed with recent reports regarding the sentence of Naser Al-Raas, and we are following up with Bahraini officials on the matter.

“We remain deeply concerned about Mr. Al-Raas’s situation in Bahrain. We call on the Bahraini government to review the case in light of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry to ensure, among other things, free political expression and protection from arbitrary detention. Canada hopes to see these recommendations applied in the case of Mr. Al-Raas.

“We continue to raise Mr. Al-Raas’s situation with the Bahraini government and to press for his case to be resolved expeditiously, particularly in view of Mr. Al-Raas’s grave health concerns. Consular officials in Ottawa, Riyadh and Manama are in contact with Mr. Al-Raas’s family in Canada and with local authorities.

“We will continue to provide support to Mr. Al-Raas and press for a positive resolution of his case.”

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

John Babcock
Senior Communications Adviser
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI