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The following came from MP Irwin Cotler, the Liberal human rights critic, who was copied on a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper concerning the horrific treatment of a rape victim in Saudi Arabia.

“Together with my colleagues we are concerned about the flogging and jail sentence of “the Woman from al-Qatif” by the government of Saudi Arabia.

“The protection of human rights around the world is a core value of Canada and of our foreign policy. As Official Opposition Critic for Human Rights, I believe we need to take a leading role in the protection and support of the innocent and vulnerable, and call on the government of Saudi Arabia to end this persistent and pervasive assault on human rights.

“Indeed, the disbarment of the victim’s lawyer – Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem – a human rights activist, only dramatizes the need for legal reforms in Saudi Arabia.

“I am pleased that the Government of Canada has responded to calls from the Opposition and denounced these human rights abuses. Canada, as a leader in the struggle for human rights and human dignity, must seek to advance – as a matter of both principle and policy, the fundamental rights of Saudi Arabians.”

The letter arrived by email on Nov. 23, 2007. To take action yourself, go to http://www.rightoncanada.ca/site/c.juIZLdMOJrE/b.2500197/.