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To: The Honorable Mr. L. Axworthy
Minister OF Foreign Affairs
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Mr. Axworthy

On behalf of the Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights Federation Board of Directors who represent the majority of the Canadian-Lebanese organizations across Canada, we appeal to the Canadian Government (through you personally) to support the current world wide effort to pressure the Syrian Government to release more than 300 Lebanese citizens detained in its jails without trial.

All the detainees were kidnapped from Lebanon for political and religious reasons and transferred to Syrian jails without any clear charges being filed. The Syrian authorities have refused up till now to even issue a list of the names of the non-Syrian prisoners, and have put down all the efforts of the international human rights organizations in this regard. The detainees’ families, as well as their lawyers, are denied even the right to see them.

The Lebanese President, during a television interview, admitted that hundreds of Lebanese citizens are detained in Syria, but has refused, as well as his government, to do anything about it.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch documents all these facts and other international human rights organizations.

We are now formally requesting that you (on behalf of the Canadian Government who now enjoys good relations with Syria) speak on behalf of those unfortunate Lebanese victims of social injustice who have been silenced and isolated in Syrian jails.

You have made it clear yourself that Canada’s relationship with other countries is primarily based on its record in the arena of human rights and this is why we are approaching you this day and asking for your active assistance.

If there have been crimes committed, why are there no formal charges and why must Lebanese citizens be kidnapped from their own country of origin and jailed in Syria without recourse to legal assistance or any contact with family?

During this past week many international organizations have been focusing their efforts in Paris (France) on behalf of the Lebanese people. We hope you will lend your voice to this cause?

Yours truly

Elias Bejjani

Secretary for the Federation

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