Canadian FM says he's taking strong line in disputes with Iran, Saudi Arabia
Mon Sep 15, 5:55 PM ET
OTTAWA (AFP) - Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham insisted that Ottawa was "taking strong steps" with the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia over the alleged mistreatment of Canadian citizens in those two countries.
In Iran, Montreal-based photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died July 10 while in police custody after being arrested for taking unauthorized photographs outside Tehran's Evin prison.
Kazemi, a dual citizen of both Iran and Canada, died of a brain hemmorrhage after a blow to the head suffered while in custody, according to an official inquiry ordered by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites).
In Saudi Arabia, Canadian Bill Sampson claims he was severely tortured while in custody and forced to confess to a murder he did not commit.
Sampson was recently released, but only after being sentenced to death by beheading.
Stockwell Day, the foreign affairs spokesman for the right-wing populist Canadian Alliance, claimed in the House of Commons that Kazemi was "wrongly arrested by the Iranian regime and beaten to death ... (yet) our government has not even demand a public apology or restitution to the Kazemi family."
Sampson, said Day, "was wrongly arrested by the Saudi regime and for nearly three years was tortured and beaten almost to the point of death ... (yet) our government has made no demand there for a public apology or restitution to Mr. Sampson."
Day called on the government to expel the Saudi ambassador.
Graham replied: "We are working with the Iranian government. We have taken strong positions with the Iranian government to deal with the Kazemi case.
"We are taking strong steps with the Saudi government to deal with the treatment of Mr. Sampson."
But Graham added he would "not put Canadians at risk abroad by breaking off" diplomatic relations. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030915/wl_canada_afp/canada_saudi_iran_030915215506
posted on 09/16/2003 12:27:40 AM PDT
"Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham insisted that Ottawa was "taking strong steps" with the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia over the alleged mistreatment of Canadian citizens in those two countries."
The Canadian government has really been disgraceful.
That's why some Canadians are suggesting that if citizens encounter problems in other countries, they go to the British Embassy, not the Canadian Embassy, for help.
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