Canadian detained in Cuba following boating death allowed to return home
Toufik Benhamiche has been stuck in Cuba for more than year as he awaits his second trial after being involving in a boating accident in which a woman died.
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, September 6, 2019 12:36PM EDT
MASCOUCHE, Que. -- A Quebecer who spent more than two years in legal limbo in Cuba following the death of a fellow Canadian tourist has returned home.
Toufik Benhamiche returned to Canada on Saturday a free man after Cuba's Supreme Court granted an exceptional authorization to leave the country, annulling a sentence by a provincial court rendered in Ciego de Avila.
Benhamiche was tried twice in a Cuban provincial court and had been prevented from leaving the country since a boating accident that killed a woman from Ontario during an excursion in July 2017 in Cayo Coco.
He told journalists today at the office of local Bloc Quebecois MP Luc Theriault he was relieved to finally be home.
Theriault, who had championed Benhamiche's case, said Canadian officials didn't do enough to help deal with the matter promptly and called it worrisome for those expecting help if they get into trouble abroad.
Kahina Bensaadi, Benhamiche's wife, says Canadian officials recently stepped up their efforts.
Bensaadi said that after more than two years of highs and lows, she didn't tell her daughters the news until they got to the airport, and she only believed it herself when she saw her husband with her own eyes.