Friday, February 3, 2012

Where Canadian Persons Have Historically Been Provided Government Support if Detained Abroad - the Harper Conservatives are Leaving People to Languish and Rot

Yet more Canadians imprisoned abroad in countries with abysmal human rights records.  Cynthia Vanier has been incarcerated in Mexico without charge for the past 3+ months.  She has been beaten and tortured.  According to her family she has lost more than 45 pounds.  The Canadian government has taken the stance that they will ignore Canadians detained abroad.  That Canadians are subject to the laws of the countries which they visit and that the Federal governments has no business stepping in.  To this point they have not intervened, have not pressed for her release, and have only offered counsular assistance.  Ms. Vanier has been transferred to a federal prison awaiting a decision on charges by the Mexican government.

Canadian Woman accused of trying to smuggle Khadafy son into Mexico; she charges abuse, torture during 3 month detention

A Canadian woman jailed in Mexico last year on suspicion she was leading a plot to smuggle the son of slain Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy into that country will languish in prison for at least ten more days, as Mexican authorities decide whether to formally press charges.
Cynthia Vanier, 52, and three others were detained in Mexico City on Nov. 10 and accused of masterminding a plan to fly Saadi Khadafy and his family into the country on false passports.
Vanier's family has said the allegations are ridiculous.
The Ontario consultant was in Mexico working on water-purification projects when she was arrested, the family says.
They suspect she was targeted because she had traveled to Libya in July on a fact-finding mission for a Montreal-based engineering firm, Canada's CBC News reported.
The firm, SNC-Lavalin, had more than 1,000 employees in Libya and ties to the Khadafy family, CBC News said.
Her detention order was set to expire on Tuesday, but a Mexican judge extended the order and moved her to a federal prison, saying authorities need more time to decide whether to charge her.
In a letter to Canadian authorities obtained by CBC News, Vanier claims she's been tortured and abused during the three-month nightmare, at one point urinating blood after a Mexican cop punched her in the kidneys.
"They ignored me and just put me into the cell... I thought I was going to die in there," she wrote.
Vanier's parents, John and Betty MacDonald, were finally allowed to visit their daughter last Thursday, after months of grappling with the Mexican prison bureaucracy.
The couple told CBC their daughter looked gray-haired and gaunt — having lost some 45 pounds — and was suffering from kidney and blood pressure problems.
"It was pretty overwhelming," Betty MacDonald said of hugging her daughter for the first time. "I wanted to hang on to her forever, wrap her up in a blanket and bring her home."

A Canadian man has been arrested in Bahrain and in this case Canada has taken the position to stand back and observe, but little else.

Canadian man arrested in Bahrain court house

Verdict on petition to overturn prison sentence expected Feb. 16

 A Canadian man who lost his appeal of a five-year prison sentence and had been hiding out in Bahrain was arrested in court on Wednesday, CBC News has learned.

Canadian Naser al-Raas was arrested in a Bahrain court on Wednesday when he showed up hoping a five-year prison sentence would be set aside.Canadian Naser al-Raas was arrested in a Bahrain court on Wednesday when he showed up hoping a five-year prison sentence would be set aside. (Courtesy of family)
Naser al-Raas, 29, was convicted in October for charges of illegal assembly, rioting and incitement in the Arab Spring protests. He was sentenced to five years in prison, where he alleges he has been tortured. He had been in hiding since the conviction.
Katie Edwards of the group Free Naser in Canada said in an email Wednesday the Bahrain court is expected to make a decision on whether to overturn al-Raas's sentence on Feb. 16.
His fiancée Zainab Ahmed told CBC News al-Raas was arrested Wednesday afternoon when he showed up in court in a final bid to get out of the five-year sentence.
She said al-Raas only showed up because his lawyer thought his client would be found innocent. Ahmed said she didn't get the chance to see him before he was taken into custody.
"I'm so upset, so mad, so sad," Ahmed said between sobs in a Skype conversation with the CBC's Ashley Burke. "I'm afraid they will torture him again.
"I'm begging the Canadian government to do anything."

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