7 thoughts on “Tortured Canadian stuck in Bahrain

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  4. Canadian man returning home after being jailed in Bahrain

    By Natalie Stechyson, Postmedia News April 30, 2012

    A Canadian man who says he was jailed and tortured in Bahrain for taking part in pro-democracy protests is now on his way home to Canada, his wife said Sunday.

    Naser Al-Raas was freed in February with help from the Canadian consulate and various international rights agencies.

    The Kuwait-born Canadian citizen claims he was then stranded in the country after Bahraini authorities refused to return any of his ID or belongings and the company charged with delivering a new passport allegedly lost it.

    Zainab Ahmed, who married Al-Raas after he was released from prison on Feb. 6, said Sunday her husband has left Egypt.

    “He is on his way to Canada. Few days and he will be there finally,” she wrote in an email to Postmedia News.

    She said she expects him to arrive at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on May 2.

    It’s a time of mixed emotion, Ahmed said, noting that it may be some time before she can follow her husband to Canada.

    “Naser is happy and sad at the same time and I’m so sad. He is happy going back home, but sad that I am away from him,” Ahmed said.

    “I’m still not his wife `officially’ because we don’t have a marriage certificate. Even outside Bahrain I need a paper from the embassy that says I can marry Naser. I’m so sad that my husband is away from me and I can’t see him for a long time.”

    Ahmed said she will remain in Egypt until she’s able to come to Canada to be with Al-Raas.

    Al-Raas had been convicted of breaking Bahrain’s illegal-assembly laws after taking part in pro-democracy protests and was facing a five-year prison sentence.

    His detention began on March 20, 2011, when Bahraini authorities arrested him at the airport.

    He described his detention as a “continuous horror dream where you cannot wake up.”

    “I was electrocuted six or seven times, but I was beaten every day . . . those were the worst days of my life,” he told Postmedia News in a previous interview.

    Al-Raas also has an underlying heart condition – a chronic pulmonary embolism – according to a report from his doctor.

    His case drew international attention, with supporters using social media and online campaigns to call for his release. Amnesty International also took up his cause.

    On Sunday, a Facebook group called “Free Naser!” posted a message to thank all of his supporters.

    “In just a few days, he’ll be back with his family. Thank you all for your support – this could not have happened without you!!!” the post said.

    nstechyson(at)postmedia.com

    Twitter.com/natstechyson

    © Copyright (c) Postmedia News

    http://www.canada.com/Canadian+returning+home+after+being+jailed+Bahrain/6538853/story.html

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  5. Canadian man detained in Bahrain arrives in Canada

    By Natalie Stechyson and Sheila Dabu Nonato, Postmedia News May 2, 2012 12:13 AM

    A Canadian man, who says he was jailed and tortured in Bahrain for taking part in pro-democracy protests, has arrived in Montreal, his wife told Postmedia News late Tuesday evening.

    “I have talked to two of Naser’s sisters (who) confirmed that Naser has arrived home. I didn’t talk to him yet. He is out now. I’m waiting for his call,” Zainab Ahmed said in an email.

    Naser Al-Raas was freed in February after lobbying from the Canadian Consulate and various international rights agencies.

    The Kuwaiti-born Canadian citizen says he was then stranded in the country after Bahraini authorities refused to return any of his ID or belongings and the company charged with delivering a new passport to him lost it.

    He left Egypt on Sunday and flew out of Amsterdam early Tuesday morning.

    Al-Raas had been convicted of breaking Bahrain’s illegal-assembly laws after taking part in pro-democracy protests and was facing a five-year prison sentence. His detention began on March 20, 2011, when Bahraini authorities arrested him at the airport.

    Al-Raas, 29, described his detention as a “continuous horror dream, where you cannot wake up.”

    “I was electrocuted six or seven times, but I was beaten every day. . . . Those were the worst days of my life,'” he told Postmedia News in a previous interview. Al-Raas also has an underlying heart condition — a chronic pulmonary embolism — according to a report from his doctor. His case drew international attention, with supporters using social media and online campaigns to call for his release. Amnesty International also took up his cause.

    Ahmed, who married Al-Raas after he was released from prison on Feb. 6, said she and Al-Raas are trying to keep their attitude positive, but are distraught that Ahmed had to remain in Egypt because the couple doesn’t have a marriage certificate.

    “My situation is complicated. I am in Egypt now and Naser will be in Canada in hours,” Ahmed said in an email earlier in the day.

    “I can’t go back to Bahrain; it’s too dangerous for me now and I can’t enter Canada. It will take a long time before I can join my husband,” Ahmed said. “I feel like all the doors are closed in my face. Our last hope was to have a marriage certificate from Egypt, but the Bahraini Embassy refused to give me the permission to marry Naser.

    So, we couldn’t make it. Wherever I go, I will need that permission from them. I feel like I’m restricted. I can’t do anything.”

    Still, Ahmed said, she’s hoping for the best, and will remain in Egypt until she’s able to come to Canada to be with Al-Raas.

    http://www.canada.com/Canadian+detained+Bahrain+arrives+Canada/6546359/story.html#ixzz1tgjkUowi

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  6. Ottawa man tortured in Bahrain wants investigation

    Naser al-Raas said he was electrocuted, beaten and shot at during incarceration

    CBC News

    Posted: May 2, 2012 3:21 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 2, 2012 4:02 PM ET

    An Ottawa man is back in Canada from Bahrain after a year-long ordeal in which he says he was tortured for 31 days for taking part in pro-democracy protests.

    Naser al-Raas, 29, flew out of Cairo on Sunday and, after a connecting flight from Amsterdam, arrived in Montreal on Tuesday.

    “The first time that I felt safe was yesterday,” said al-Raas, who said he was electrocuted and subject to three mock executions — where his jailors fired rifles above his head — during his incarceration.

    Al-Raas was arrested in March 2011 and charged under Bahrain’s illegal assembly laws after taking part in protests.

    He spent a month in detention before he was released and was later convicted in October. He went into hiding as he fought to have the charges dropped, but was arrested again. He appealed the charges and was released on bail Feb. 6.

    He did not leave the country, however, as Bahraini officials did not release his identification and passport.

    Canadian consular officials helped the Kuwaiti-born Canadian citizen with his acquittal and later secured his departure in March out of the country and to Egypt.
    Wife still stuck in Egypt

    He said his wife, Zainab Ahmed of Bahrain, remains in Egypt as they work to get Bahraini officials to confirm the validity of their marriage. He said Bahraini authorities have refused “because of who I am and because of my record.”

    The Canadian government, which along with international human rights groups like Amnesty International fought for al-Raas’s release, said they now consider the matter resolved.

    But al-Raas said he doesn’t consider his case finished, and said he wants the Canadian government to pressure Bahraini officials to investigate his detention.
    Al-Raas wants torturers brought to justice

    “I was tortured, I was treated unfairly, I was being beaten, stood for long hours, and … taken under gun for 31 days to a secret facility in Bahrain,” said al-Raas.

    “I call the government to step in and call for a full investigation where I was being held at that time, and to bring the torturers in front of justice,” he said.

    Al-Raas, who also has an underlying heart condition — a chronic pulmonary embolism — according to his doctor, said he is now adjusting to life back in Canada as he tries to bring his wife here.

    “I have mixed feeling now,” he said. “I am safe and back home. I’m just… I don’t know. I had horrible experience from last year until now. I don’t know how could I… turn myself back to normal, but it will take time. But I am optimistic now.”

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  7. ‘Continuous horror’ — Canadian detained in Bahrain alleges torture, demands justice

    By Sheila Dabu Nonato and Natalie Stechyson, Postmedia News May 2, 2012 10:22 PM

    OTTAWA — A Canadian man who was jailed in Bahrain for taking part in pro-democracy protests is calling upon the Canadian government to bring his alleged torturers to justice.

    “Canada should ask my torturers to be held in front of justice,” he said Wednesday. “I can’t do it as an individual, to start a case against Bahrain, and I want (the Canadian government) to do it, to expose what they did to me and the others.”

    Naser Al-Raas, 29, arrived in Ottawa Tuesday evening after flying into Montreal. He was freed in February after lobbying by the Canadian consulate and various international rights agencies.

    The Kuwaiti-born Canadian citizen says he was stranded in Bahrain after local authorities refused to return any of his ID or belongings and the company charged with delivering a new passport to him lost it.

    He left Egypt on Sunday and flew out of Amsterdam early Tuesday morning.

    Al-Raas was convicted of breaking Bahrain’s illegal-assembly laws after allegedly taking part in pro-democracy protests. He was facing a five-year prison sentence. His detention began on March 20, 2011, when Bahraini authorities arrested him at the airport.

    He said he was on his way to visit his sister when the protests happened and was observing, not participating in them.

    Al-Raas said he was thankful to the Canadian government, Amnesty International Canada and other groups that called for his release.

    “They don’t even know me (but they) worked on my behalf,” he said.

    Al-Raas recalled his time in prison as a “continuous horror dream, where you cannot wake up.”

    “I was electrocuted six or seven times, but I was beaten every day. . . . Those were the worst days of my life,” he said in a previous interview.

    Al-Raas said one man in the cell next to him died through “the same torture methods.”

    “I don’t want another (person) to experience this,” he said.

    When the plane touched down in Canada, Al-Raas said he felt excitement, but also felt “inner fear” as he lined up for the customs counter.

    He said he was remembering the day he was taken from the airport in Bahrain and sent to prison.

    After passing through customs, Al-Raas said he ate his first meal in Canada (a cheese sandwich) and hopped on a bus to to Ottawa to meet his mother and four siblings.

    Once he arrived in Ottawa, Al-Raas said he decided to take a tour of the city, via public transport, that same night.

    “I want to feel normal again,” he said. “This is my home. This is my place. I thought that I missed it for a long time.”

    In the coming weeks, Al-Raas said he hopes to rest and continue his walks around the city.

    Also, he said he hopes to be able to bring his wife, Zainab Ahmed, who is a Bahraini citizen, to join him in Canada. She is currently in Egypt.

    “I think if they want to hurt me, they’ll want to hurt her,” he said.

    The couple married after Al-Raas was released from prison in February. But he said the marriage, which took place before an imam, is not yet official because the Bahraini embassy refused to grant them permission to get married.

    As a result, they do not have a marriage certificate.

    http://www.canada.com/news/Continuous+horror+Canadian+detained+Bahrain+alleges+torture+demands+justice/6555819/story.html#ixzz1tmezbZdA

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