‘My fa­ther did noth­ing wrong’

Fam­ily of Cana­dian man de­tained in U.A.E. with­out charge calls for his re­lease

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

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.

CP PHOTO

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.

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