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U.S. Protests Tehran Prosecutor's Presence At UN Meeting


Said Mortazavi speaks to reporters in Geneva on June 21 (epa) June 24, 2006 -- The United States has joined protests against Iran's appointment of a prosecutor suspected of human rights violations to its observer delegation at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations' Human Rights Council.


U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the United States joins Canada in deploring the presence of Tehran Prosecutor-General Said Mortazavi at the UN meeting in Geneva.


Canadian officials say Mortazavi was responsible for the illegal arrest and detention of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in Iranian custody in 2003, as well as for a crackdown against Iranian media.


Canadian Prime Minister Stepen Harper has called for Mortazavi to be brought to justice.


Iran's Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki today rejected the Canadian criticism, and said that Canada has "a long history of serious political mistakes" in dealing with Iran.


(AFP, AP)

UN Human Rights Council

UN General Assembly delegates applaud the creation of the UN Human Rights Council on March 15, 2006 (epa)

A FRESH START ON HUMAN RIGHTS: The United Nations General Assembly on May 9 elected members to its new Human Rights Council, a step that reformers hope will help improve the United Nations' sullied record on defending human rights. The UN's old human rights watchdog -- the Commission on Human Rights -- had long been criticized for granting membership to countries with dismal human rights records, such as Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Every member of the new body has to pledge to promote human rights. (more)


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