Canadian freed from U.A.E. prison can’t leave due to 'no fly' list
Canadian Salim Alaradi and his son, Mohamed Alaradi are shown on a family vacation in the United Arab Emirates in a 2013 family handout photo.(HO / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A Canadian man freed from a United Arab Emirates prison Tuesday after nearly two years was stopped from boarding a flight at the Dubai airport Wednesday because his name turned up on a ‘no fly’ list, according to his lawyer.
Salim Alaradi was detained on terrorism-related charges while on a family vacation in Dubai in August, 2014. Human rights campaigners said the charges were false and that there was no evidence against Alaradi. He was acquitted Monday by a local judge without explanation.
Ottawa-based lawyer Paul Champ says that Alaradi is excited to be out of prison -- where he wasn’t even allowed to see photos of his children -- but very disappointed he can’t fly to nearby Turkey or Qatar to finally see them after 21 months. Some of his family members are currently in Turkey and others are in Qatar, he said.
Champ said the Canadian government has been supportive – they arranged for a new passport, money and clothing from Alaradi’s family, and an escort to the airport -- but “the ball was dropped a little bit.”
“We had definitely communicated with the Canadian government that we wanted all technicalities resolved and that they would proactively prepare for his release,” Champ said.
“It seems that at this point they’re not clear why he’s on a travel ban and the way he’s on it, the way he gets off it,” Champ said of the Canadian government. “So that’s disappointing.”
Consular officials told him Wednesday that Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion is trying to contact his counterpart in the U.A.E., but is not able to reach him, Champ said.
“In fairness,” he said he understands the difficulty Canadian officials face in dealing with a “country that will operate outside the rule of law.”
Alaradi is in “good spirits” now that he can speak freely with his family over Skype after nearly two years without seeing so much as a photo, but “deeply disappointed that they have yet to be reunited,” Champ said.
Alaradi faced torture
Champ said Alaradi needs to get to Turkey to see a doctor for back problems that he says “have been significantly aggravated by the beatings and the stress positions of being hung upside down during the torture he experienced,” vision problems and ringing in the ears from being beaten, and other possible conditions related to the poor jail food and water.
“My estimate is that it looks like he’s lost about 40 pounds or 50 pounds during prison,” Champ said. “He has not received medical attention while he was in jail.”
Daughter Marwa Alaradi, who has been spearheading the “Free Salim Alaradi” social media campaign, told CTV News Channel Tuesday that she “can’t wait to just sit with her father.”
“That’s all I need … And of course I want him to become healthy,” she said. “We will do our best to make him return to the old Salim,” she added.
Alaradi immigrated to Canada in 1998 from the U.A.E. but went back in 2007 to launch a home appliance business. His family lives in Windsor, Ont.
Alaradi was arrested along with a number of Libyans and accused of providing supplies to groups and collecting donations without government permission.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention alleged the men were deprived of sleep for up to 20 days, beaten on the hands and legs and given "electric shocks with an electric chair."