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Canada Protests Cotler’s Expulsion

External Affairs Minister Flora MacDonald has protested to the Soviet Union over the expulsion of Irwin Cotler, a professor of law at McGill University, who was given the power of attorney by Avital Shcharansky the wife of Prisoner of Conscience Anatoly Shcharansky, to appeal against her husband’s conviction and the 13 year jail sentence he is serving. MacDonald summoned a Soviet official to the Department of External Affairs last Friday.

MacDonald said her government was protesting the expulsion and the way it was carried out as inconsistent with the Helsinki Accord and recent efforts on both sides to improve relations between Canada and the Soviet Union. The Soviet official was also told that Canada regretted that Cotler had been expelled “in summary fashion” and without credible explanation and that Soviet authorities refused to allow him to contact the Canadian Embassy and that police confiscated his papers, including an 800-page legal appeal for Shcharansky.

Cotler said after his return here that he intends to continue his work on behalf of Shcharansky, whose parents he was about to visit when he was arrested for violating local travel restrictions and placed on the first airliner heading to West Europe. Cotler is also acting in the case of Ida Nudel who has been sentenced to five years exile in Siberia.

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