February 1, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), made the following statement on the arrest today of Canadian Naser Al-Raas:
“We remain deeply concerned that the Bahraini appeal court rejected medical evidence of Mr. Al-Raas’s grave health complications, and we appeal to the Government of Bahrain on humanitarian grounds for the release of Mr. A-Raas to allow access to needed treatment not available in detention.
“The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry recently recommended that the Bahraini government take steps to ensure, among other things, freedom of speech and protection from arbitrary detention. Canada urges the Government of Bahrain to implement the recommendations of the Commission fully and apply them to Mr. Al-Raas’s situation.
“Canadian officials will continue to raise Canada’s concerns regarding Mr. Al-Raas’s situation with the Bahraini government and will urge that his case be resolved expeditiously, particularly in view of his serious health issues. Canadian consular officials in Ottawa, Riyadh and Manama are in contact with the family of Mr. Al-Raas in Canada and with local authorities. Officials are providing consular assistance and are thoroughly engaged on his behalf.”
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