Foreign Affairs Minister Slams Detention of Baha'i Leaders in Iran

May 17, 2008

Author: Steven Edwards

Source: Canwest News Service

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has criticized Iran's jailing of six Baha'i leaders this week without charges as "unacceptable."

Iran intelligence officials arrested the four men and two women early Wednesday in raids that officials of the internationalist faith say are reminiscent of the deadly sweeps of the 1980s.

The Canadian-based son of one of the six has said he fears the group may face torture.

"I'm very worried about his health and safety," Naeim Tavakkoli, 30, of Ottawa, said of his father, Dehrouz, 57.

"These guys will do anything, and there is a big chance of torture."

Leaders of Canada's 30,000-strong Baha'i community had called on the Foreign Affairs minister to join the United States in issuing a "strong condemnation" of the arrests, which followed the March detention of another Baha'i leader.