Thursday, June 22, 2006

Canada condemns presence of Tehran chief prosecutor at UN Human Rights Council

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office-The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today made the following statement deploring the presence at the inaugural meeting of the UN Human Rights Council of Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi:

The presence of Mr. Mortazavi in Iran’s delegation demonstrates the Government of Iran’s complete contempt for internationally recognized principles of human rights. The Government of Canada expresses its disgust at the fact that Iran would choose to include such a person in its delegation to a new UN body intended to promote the highest standards of respect for human rights.

“By including Mr. Mortazavi in its delegation, Iran is trying to discredit the Council and deflect attention from the Council’s goal of ensuring greater respect for human rights.

“Two official Iranian government investigations found that Prosecutor General Mortazavi ordered the illegal arrest and detention of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, which led to her torture and death. He then falsified documents to cover up his involvement in her case. Mr. Mortazavi has also been involved in the harsh clampdown on the Iranian press and the arrests of many Iranian journalists.