Canadian detained in U.A.E. without charge to stand trial on Monday

TORONTO -- A Canadian man detained without charge in the United Arab Emirates for more than a year is expected to finally learn what he's accused of at a trial set to begin on Monday.

See Full Article

Salim Alaradi, a 46-year-old Canadian of Libyan origin, was running a business in Dubai when he was abruptly arrested in August 2014.

His family and lawyers have received no explanation from U.A.E. authorities for his continued detention and there have been allegations he has been tortured behind bars.

Alaradi's trial will be held at the State Security Chamber of the U.A.E. Federal Supreme Court, a venue his Canadian lawyer said suggests he will be charged with terrorism-related offences.

"One way or another it appears that the U.A.E. wants to bring this file to a close," Paul Champ told The Canadian Press. "We were hopeful that the Emiratis were simply going to release Salim but unfortunately they've decided to lay charges."

There are concerns Alaradi may not get a fair trial since he will have no right of appeal and alleged forced confessions may be made admissible, Champ said.

Nonetheless, the legal process is being seen as a significant development in Alaradi's case which had appeared stalled until now.

"He is happy to learn that there are charges because at least it signals that the end of this ordeal may be near," Champ said. "We think that after holding him for so long maybe the U.A.E. authorities felt that they were obliged to charge him with something, but we're hopeful that he will be acquitted of any charges."

Alaradi was born in Libya and immigrated to Canada from the U.A.E. in 1998, settling down in Vancouver with his family. He decided to return to the U.A.E. in 2007 to run a home appliance business with his brother.

He and his family were on vacation when he was arrested.

For two months his family didn't know if he was dead or alive. They then found out he was being held at an Abu Dhabi prison, though they have never been told why.

Their communication with Alaradi has been limited but in one prison visit early on in his detention, Alaradi's wife noticed a burn mark on his hand, prompting fears he had been mistreated.

Amnesty International has noted that Alaradi was among 10 men of Libyan origin detained in the U.A.E. at the same time.

Champ said Alaradi's Libyan roots may have something to do with his detention but noted that the Canadian man was not involved in Libyan affairs.

"We haven't learned of anything that could be remotely held against him," said Champ. "Mr. Alaradi is not political in any way, he's not involved in any groups or associations, he has not spoken out against the government."

Global Affairs Canada said Canadian officials "at very high levels" have raised concerns about Alaradi with U.A.E. authorities.

"The Government of Canada is seized with the seriousness of Mr. Alaradi's case and is engaged in efforts to ensure a prompt and just resolution," said spokeswoman Diana Khaddaj. "Canada takes allegations of mistreatment and torture extremely seriously."

Canadian officials have asked to be allowed to attend Alaradi's trial, Khaddaj added.

The Canadian response to Alaradi's case appears to have improved since the fall of 2015, said Champ.

"Canadian consular officials have assured me that Mr. Alaradi is one of their most important consular files in the world," he said. "They have been visiting or trying to visit him every single week since late September. That is a change."

Alaradi's family, meanwhile, has mixed feelings about the start of his trial.

"I'm afraid that they'll charge him with things my father has never done," Alaradi's daughter Marwa said in an interview. "But I believe that my father's going to speak out ... so I hope it goes well."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Liberals move to let judges waive victim surcharge for those who can't pay

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Liberal government is moving to once again allow judges to waive a victim surcharge imposed on offenders if they cannot afford to pay it. The change is among promised reforms to the criminal justice system -- expected to include an overhaul of the tough-on-crime agenda championed by the Conservatives -- that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to bring in. Source
  • Trick-or-treat: N.B. city grapples with unusual Halloween curfew bylaw

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    BATHURST, N.B. — Older teens hoping to take to the streets of a northern New Brunswick community on Halloween may find an unusual bylaw blocking their pursuit of sugary loot. The City of Bathurst has a long-standing, but little-known rule on the books that forbids trick-or-treating or wearing a face covering after 7 p.m. Source
  • Calais camp dismantling to start next week

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- French authorities say the closure of the slum-like camp in Calais will start on Monday and will last approximately a week in what they describe as a "humanitarian" operation. According to officials at France's Interior ministry, all of the 6,486 migrants they have counted in the camp -- where refugees have been living in appalling conditions for years -- will be offered relocation, either in reception centres across the country or abroad. Source
  • Peanut butter vandal mistakes gathering for Trump rally

    World News CTV News
    AMHERST, Wis. -- Disorderly conduct charges are pending against a woman who authorities say smeared peanut butter on 30 vehicles outside a gathering in central Wisconsin that she mistakenly thought was a Donald Trump rally. Source
  • Child porn accuser drops lawsuit against ex-Subway pitchman

    World News Toronto Sun
    INDIANAPOLIS — The family of a girl who accused Jared Fogle in a child pornography case that led to the former Subway pitchman’s imprisonment is dropping a lawsuit against him. A motion filed Thursday in federal court in Indianapolis requested that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought back to court. Source
  • Kumbuka the gorilla escaped last week and spent his freedom guzzling fruit syrup

    World News Toronto Sun
    London Zoo officials are trying to reassure the public that stories about one of its gorillas escaping from an enclosure last week were exaggerated. Reports that Kumbuka had left his secure pen at the London Zoo last Thursday sent visitors into a frenzy. Source
  • Inflation rate up 1.3% last month says Statistics Canada

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says its consumer price index was up 1.3 per cent in September compared with a year ago. That indicates slightly higher inflation compared with August when the index was up 1.1 per cent. Source
  • Pakistan is going to execute man with schizophrenia, rights group says

    World News CBC News
    An international rights group and a defence lawyer say Pakistan's Supreme Court has paved the way for execution of a mentally ill death-row prisoner by ruling that schizophrenia does not qualify as a mental disorder. Sara Bilal, a lawyer at Justice Project Pakistan, said Friday the court made this observation Thursday while releasing a detailed order about an earlier rejection of the final appeal from Imdad Ali. Source
  • Family violence stats 'staggering': Canada's top doctor

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Canada’s top doctor has released a report on family violence across the country — and he says the statistics are staggering. Chief medical health officer Dr. Gregory Taylor says family violence is not just about physical abuse, but includes sexual, emotional and financial abuse, as well as neglect. Source
  • A portrait of John Podesta, based entirely on his hacked emails

    World News Toronto Sun
    John Podesta is constantly being asked to lunch. John Podesta receives a cascade of boring news briefs. John Podesta is a one-man suggestion box for people who have ideas about the campaign. John Podesta and his wife, Mary, have a typical marriage-on-the-go. Source