‘My father did nothing wrong’
Family of Canadian man detained in U.A.E. without charge calls for his release
Marwa Alaradi hasn’t seen her father in nearly a year, but the teen spends every day thinking of ways to bring him home.
The 17-year-old Windsor, Ont., resident has made it her mission to secure Salim Alaradi’s release from a prison in the United Arab Emirates, where the 46-year-old Canadian has been held without charge since last August.
“It’s been difficult to manage both school and fighting for my father, but I have to do that,” she told The Canadian Press. “I know my father did nothing wrong.”
Salim Alaradi has been behind bars since last August and recently had his detention extended for another 30 days — all without any explanation for why he is being held, his family said. They’re calling on the Canadian government to secure his freedom.
The Libyan-born Alaradi immigrated to Canada from the U.A.E. with his family in 1998, living in Vancouver until he decided to return to the Middle Eastern nation in 2007 to run a home appliance business with his brother.
Alaradi and his family were on vacation last August, on the U.A.E.’s famed Palm Jumeirah island, when their world turned upside down.
The hotel’s reception desk called Alaradi’s room late at night telling him someone from the country’s security service wanted to speak to him, his daughter said. When Alaradi went downstairs with his wife, he was taken away.
“They never told us why they’re taking my father. They never told us the reason,” said his daughter, who called the Canadian embassy’s emergency line as soon as she found out what happened.
For two months and 11 days, the family had no idea where Alaradi was being held, or what he had been accused of. Then they got a phone call.
“We didn’t know that he was alive,” said his daughter. “We finally heard his voice, we were happy, but he did not talk about what happened to him freely.”
Another bewildering period of silence followed until Alaradi’s family was told he was being held in a prison in the U.A.E. capital of Abu Dhabi, where his wife was allowed to visit him five months after he was detained. The visit was monitored, with Alaradi reluctant to disclose how he was being treated.
“My mom noticed that he lost a lot of weight; as well, she saw a burn mark on his hand. He said it was from the laundry,” his daughter said.
Staff from the Canadian embassy in the U.A.E. have visited Alaradi three times, his daughter said, although in one of those visits they were only able to view him from afar.
When asked about Alaradi’s case, a spokeswoman with Foreign Affairs said consular services were being provided to a Canadian detained in the U.A.E.
“Senior Canadian officials are in contact with the individual’s family as well as the appropriate authorities in the United Arab Emirates,” she said.
Canadian Salim Alaradi and his son, Mohamed Alaradi, are shown on a family vacation in the United Arab Emirates in a 2013 family. Alaradi has been in prison in the U.A.E. for almost a year.