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Yasser Ahmed Albaz’s Detention In Notorious Egyptian Prison Renewed Yet Again

Read here: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/yasser-ahmed-albaz-egypt_ca_5cd5958ae4b07bc72979737b

Yasser Ahmed Albaz's daughter Amal says his detention in Egypt's notorious Tora prison has been renewed...
Yasser Ahmed Albaz’s daughter Amal says his detention in Egypt’s notorious Tora prison has been renewed yet again. He has not been charged.

The daughter of a Canadian man who has been languishing in a brutal Egyptian prison for more than two months says his detention has been renewed yet again.

Amal Ahmed Albaz told HuffPost Canada her father Yasser still hasn’t been charged with anything or told why he is being detained.

“A part of us is still in shock and can’t wrap our heads around what’s happening,” Albaz said.

The Oakville, Ont. family’s nightmare began on Feb. 18 — Family Day in their province — when he was taken in for questioning by authorities at the Cairo airport while waiting to catch a flight back to Toronto. After sending them a text message to say he loved them, Yasser vanished.

Amal Ahmed Albaz, centre, is photographed with her sister Maryam and father
Amal Ahmed Albaz, centre, is photographed with her sister Maryam and father Yasser.

The family had no idea where he was for almost a week. Their confusion turned to abject horror when a lawyer in Cairo told them Yasser was questioned and taken to Tora prison, a notorious institution that has been accused of human rights violations.

Albaz said that since then, Yasser has been receiving extensions on his detention from the state prosecutor without being charged. The most recent renewal was on April 15.

“They just go [to the prosecutor], they just renew his extension and he leaves. It’s very routine,” she said.

“The Canadian government has no knowledge of anything and even our lawyer on the ground has no knowledge of anything.”

Father in ‘psychological shock’

Albaz said her father’s situation is only getting worse. He is still sleeping on concrete floors in a cramped cell and eating unclean food.

Her uncle in Egypt has been allowed to visit Yasser. He tells them he is physically unharmed but appears to be in “psychological shock.”

“He’s trying to tell us he’s strong, that he’s fine, but I know he’s just telling that my uncle for our sake, to give us some peace and solace.”

Albaz said her father’s absence has hit the family hard. She said she is reminded of how long he’s been away just by looking at how much her three-month-old son has grown since

She said her mother did not leave the house for the first month.

“They’ve been married for 26 years. Her other half is literally gone.”

Albaz’s 13-year-old brother takes his dad’s watch to school.

“My mom says ‘this is huge on you, why are you taking it?’ He just responded ‘I want a piece of my dad with me.'”

And Albaz’s sister, who is getting married in almost two months, says she is “devastated” and afraid she’ll have to cancel the wedding if her father is not released in time.

“The moment we start to envision or picture what he’s doing, what he’s like in there, we break apart. So we try to not think of all the little details and just hope he’s OK,” Albaz said.

Yasser and his wife Safaa are pictured with their youngest
Yasser and his wife Safaa are pictured with their youngest grandson.

Albaz said Canadian consular officials have contacted Yasser to provide support. She also said that Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reached out in person to express her concern and support to the family.

“We just hope that she will take personal action on this case. She’s kind of our only hope in this situation,” she said.

The family is worried that fabricated charges will be laid in Yasser’s case, Albaz added, which would lob it into a whole new dimension of legal issues.

She is afraid the case will slowly resemble that of Hazem Hamouda, an Australian-Egyptian citizen who spent more than a year in Tora prison without ever being charged. Although he was recently freed, Hamouda “vanished” for a month shortly before his scheduled release date in February, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Right now is the best time for the Canadian government to intervene, because if it turns into a trial or if it enters the judicial process based on fabricated charges or evidence or anything like that, then it becomes much more difficult for the government to intervene.”

Throughout Yasser’s ordeal, Global Affairs Canada has only told HuffPost that the government is aware of a Canadian being detained in Egypt and is providing consular services. The department said it could not provide any more information due to the Privacy Act

On Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed that Freeland reached out to Albaz’s family and that officials are working with local authorities to “obtain more information.”

To pressure the government to escalate its response, Albaz started a petition on March 28 — her father’s 51st birthday — to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland to intervene. To date, more than 20,000 people have signed the campaign.

“How long is the Canadian government going to wait before they actually make this a priority? How long before they decide to bring him home?” Albaz said.

“They say this is a priority and I want to believe them, [but] the only way I can come to believe them is if he’s home, it’s if I know there’s a clear plan on what is being done to bring him home.”

Federal Government Must Escalate Case Of Yasser Ahmed Albaz, Canadian Held In Notorious Tora Prison: Ex-Prisoner

Read here: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/yasser-ahmed-albaz-tarek-loubani_ca_5cd58b33e4b07bc729790ecc

Amal Ahmed Albaz says she has not heard from her father ever since he was detained in Egypt on Feb.
Amal Ahmed Albaz says she has not heard from her father ever since he was detained in Egypt on Feb. 18.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz’s last message to his family was, under any other circumstance, nothing to cause alarm.

It was February 18. Family Day. He was at the airport in Cairo waiting for a flight home after almost two months away for work.

After checking in his luggage, Yasser told his family he was “put on the side” by airport staff and was still waiting for his passport. He later let them know he was going to miss his flight. Then he told them he loved them.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz is pictured with his
Yasser Ahmed Albaz is pictured with his family

“That was the last direct communication we had with him,” his daughter Amal Albaz told HuffPost Canada.

Yasser sent one more message to a friend, explaining that he was being taken away by state security.

Albaz said she immediately reported the case to Canada’s emergency consular services line. She later learned her father was being subjected to “general questioning” but was allowed to have a lawyer present.

“The lawyer himself is very shocked,” she said. “He said this makes absolutely no sense. He has no idea why this is happening as well.”

For almost one week, the family had no idea where Yasser was. Then the nightmare began.

The lawyer told them Yasser has not been charged with anything but that he was being detained and taken to Egypt’s Tora prison complex, a notorious facility often used to detain political prisoners. It’s the same place where Muslim Brotherhood supporters were held after the Egyptian military overthrew Mohamed Morsi — a senior figure in the organization and the country’s first elected president — back in 2013. Many who are suspected of or charged with terrorism are also held there.

“It all feels so very surreal, but at the same time it feels like a nightmare that we’re not waking up from,” Albaz said.

Tora prison has been criticized by human rights advocates for its treatment of prisoners. Its reputation has become so grim that its maximum security wing has been nicknamed the “scorpion.”

According to a 2016 report from Human Rights Watch, inmates in that part of the complex aren’t given any beds or mattresses, sleeping on “concrete platforms” instead. They don’t receive any hygienic items and are often denied medical care and visits by family members, friends and lawyers.

On Wednesday, Albaz said in a statement that Canadian officials have located her father, who is in a “state of shock.”

“He has been sick for several days and the embassy has provided him with medication. He is forced to sleep on the concrete floor during Egypt’s winter, without a blanket or even a pillow. When family members tried providing these basic necessities to the prison, they were denied,” she wrote.

Oakville, Ont.-based engineer Yasser Ahmed Albaz, pictured with his daughter Maryam, has not been able...
Oakville, Ont.-based engineer Yasser Ahmed Albaz, pictured with his daughter Maryam, has not been able to contact his family since February 18.

Albaz said her father, an Oakville, Ont.-based engineer who regularly travels for work, regularly enters and leaves Egypt with no hassle. The family was there last summer for her sister’s engagement party.

“It’s still very unclear why they’re holding him,” Albaz said. “The only thing we can think of is this is a huge mistake. There’s definitely a huge misunderstanding. My father is not politically active, he has no political affiliations. Anything that could be kind of a trigger simply isn’t there.”

While Albaz and her family have no idea what kind of conditions their father is being held in, Tarek Loubani says he can “virtually guarantee” what the experience looks like.

The emergency physician at the London Health Sciences Centre knows first-hand of the horrific conditions at Tora prison. He was detained there for almost seven weeks along with fellow Canadian, filmmaker John Greyson in 2013.

Loubani and Greyson were in Cairo on their way to Gaza to produce a film. But while they were in the Egyptian capital, the deadly Rab’a protests broke out. Hundreds were killed in a brutal crackdown on demonstrators.

Loubani said he tried to tend to some of the wounded while Greyson filmed what was happening, but the two were later accused of killing a police officer, assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, carrying explosives and even simultaneously being informants for Hamas, the CIA and the Mossad.

“When I hear that nobody’s been allowed to see Yasser for a week, I can virtually guarantee you I know exactly what happened there, because that’s what happened with us, that’s what happened before us, that’s what happened after us,” he told HuffPost.

Loubani said on the first day of his detention he and other inmates were made to wait in a van in the scorching mid-August heat.

“They wanted us there, boiling alive.”

He said when the van’s doors opened, two teams of police officers holding clubs were outside.

Loubani said everyone got hit.

Those who could run away fastest got hit less. Anyone who fell while fleeing got hit the most.

Before entering the prison, Loubani said they were all made to wait in a room. The guards asked for the “Canadian” — Greyson.

Loubani said his colleague tried to say he is Canadian, hoping it would protect him somehow. It didn’t. The two were severely beaten, Loubani said.

“There was snot coming out of my nose, there was blood coming down. I was sweating. I was yelling. It was a terrible experience.”

Friends, family and colleagues of Tarek Loubani gather at a rally in Victoria Park in London, Ont. on...
Friends, family and colleagues of Tarek Loubani gather at a rally in Victoria Park in London, Ont. on Sept. 24, 2013, calling on the former Conservative government to become more involved in negotiating the release of Loubani and John Greyson.

There have also been reports of inmates at Tora being denied medical care. Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a Canadian resident who served as an adviser to Morsi, was placed in the prison for almost two years. He suffered spinal injuries while there and was only allowed access to a hospital after a year, according to the Toronto Star.

“The sanitary conditions were terrible and I had skin and stomach problems. My health was deteriorating,” Al-Qazzaz told paper in 2016.

A ‘Kafkaesque, brutal system’

Loubani said he and Greyson were allowed to be examined by a doctor after almost a week in Tora only because they were Canadian citizens.

“Nobody else got that. Nobody was allowed out of the cell for two weeks.”

The doctor documented that Loubani had broken ribs and noted he was concussed, that he was “pissing blood.” Greyson, Loubani said, was beaten so badly that he could almost make out a number “6” on his back from one of the guard’s boots.

“When we left, we left 50 days in, nobody had yet been charged,” Loubani said, adding that the time they spent in Tora was an “investigation period,” which is how authorities justified not laying any charges.

He said this was a pivotal time for Canadian authorities to intervene and secure their release.

“That’s why it was so key for us to get out before we were charged, because if we were charged then you’re part of this kind of Kafkaesque, brutal system. There’s not much that you can really do to interrupt it.”

Mahmoud Loubani (left) beams after his son Tarek Loubani (centre) and John Greyson returned to Canada...
Mahmoud Loubani (left) beams after his son Tarek Loubani (centre) and John Greyson returned to Canada after being imprisoned in Egypt for over a month.

Albaz echoed that concern. She said although Canadian authorities in Egypt are working to track down and visit her father, she wants more from the federal government at home.

Asked if Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were intervening in the case, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada only told HuffPost the government is aware of a Canadian detained in Egypt and noted that it was providing consular services.

“I’m not hearing any signals of urgency or escalations to the minister or higher, which is something that we need urgently,” Albaz said.

“I need my father out of prison and on a plane back home. Only [Freeland] can do that.”

Loubani said the federal government needs to apply political pressure and make it clear that there will be “consequences” if Yasser is not given his basic human rights. He said the former Conservative government took this type of approach when he was detained.

Canadian engineer Yasser Ahmed Albaz, right, is pictured with his daughters Maryam Ahmed (left) and Amal
Canadian engineer Yasser Ahmed Albaz, right, is pictured with his daughters Maryam Ahmed (left) and Amal Ahmed.

He said he understands how much Albaz’s family is suffering, and he can certainly understand what her father could be going through. But most of all, he hurts knowing that Yasser’s case is not unique.

“You know what the worst thing about it is? This is happening to thousands of Egyptians,” he said.

“And I know that we can’t change that or stop that, but we can in this one case, and we have to in this one case.”

Albaz said more than 3,000 emails have been sent to Freeland and other MPs urging the government to escalate its response and secure Yasser’s release. Loubani said that type of collective pressure on the government is crucial.

“We got out of because of the work of thousands of Canadians who made phone calls, who wrote letters and who signed petitions,” Loubani said.

“Sometimes it feels as though those efforts are in vain, but I’m free. And [Greyson] is free. And that would have never happened without every single person who signed, who called, who fought, who asked, who demanded. Not only is it a way, it’s probably the only way that this man comes home safely to his family.”

Family frantic over arrest of Canadian engineer in Cairo

Read here: https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2019/02/25/family-frantic-over-arrest-of-canadian-engineer-in-cairo/

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, left, pictured with his wife, Safaa Elashmawy. He was detained at Cairo airport last Monday as he was about to board a flight home to Canada. He is currently in Egypt’s infamous Tora prison. No charges have been laid. (Amal Ahmed Albaz/Supplied)

The family of a Canadian detained last week in Egypt as he was about to board a flight home is asking Ottawa to get more involved in finding out what is going on.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz was taken into custody last Monday and is now reportedly being held in Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison complex.

The 51-year-old Albaz, an engineer who had been in Egypt on a business trip since December, has apparently not been charged.

Global Affairs Canada says it has provided consular services but has provided little other information.

Tora Prison, where Canadian Yasser Ahmed Albaz is currently being held (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Albaz’s daughter Amal Ahmed Albaz says her family was “torn apart” when her father was stopped at Cairo International Airport.

She says her father’s passport was seized as he was taken for questioning.

She says the family has no idea why Albaz, who runs an engineering firm in Oakville, Ontario, was detained.

“My father has no political affiliations,” she says.

“He’s not politically active whatsoever. His business is engineering: it has nothing to do with state security or anything like that.”

Originally from Egypt, the Albaz family has living as Canadian citizens for almost 20 years.

Amal Ahmed Albaz says the family regularly took business trips and vacations in Egypt.

Albaz’s arrest came just days after Amnesty International rebuked Egypt for “violating international law by denying family visits to scores of detainees” currently in prisons in Cairo and Alexandria.

The family of a Canadian man from Oakville is ‘horror struck’ after he was detained in a brutal Egyptian prison

Read here: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/02/25/news/family-canadian-man-oakville-horror-struck-after-he-was-detained-brutal-egyptian

Yasser Ahmed with his wife, Safaa Elashmawy in a 2018 photo that was taken in Egypt. Supplied photo

Yasser Ahmed Albaz was about to board a flight from Cairo, Egypt to Canada on the night of Feb. 18, when security pulled him aside and confiscated his passport. He was told by an officer that he had been flagged for investigation. Then, he was arrested.

The last thing Albaz told his family was that he loved him. That WhatsApp message reached them at 10 p.m., his eldest daughter, Amal, recalls.

In the week since, neither Amal, nor her two younger siblings or their mother have heard directly from their father. They received some information through a message he sent to a friend in Egypt who said he had been arrested by Egypt’s state security. They’ve also received updates from a lawyer they hired and Canadian consular officials.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Albaz had contacted a friend directly but wasn’t able to contact his family in Oakville, Ontario.

The Albaz family said that they learned which prison he had been taken after hiring a lawyer in Cairo. The lawyer and Canadian consular officials have confirmed to the family that Albaz was being held in Cairo’s Tora prison for additional questioning, expected to take place on Tuesday.

Albaz has not yet been charged with any crime, the family said.

They declined to provide National Observer with the lawyer’s name and contact information out of fear that this could endanger the lawyer’s safety.

The Tora prison has been the focus of a Human Rights Watch report that revealed its harsh conditions, torture practices and routine human rights violations of thousands of prisoners.

“We’re horror-struck,” Amal told National Observer, adding that her father isn’t political. “There is no clarity on why this happened. We don’t know anything right now.”

Albaz, 51, had been on a business trip Cairo since December, working with a client for his small engineering firm in Oakville. Amal said that her father remained in touch with the family throughout the trip, until he was detained.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement they were aware of the detention of a Canadian citizen, but that they couldn’t disclose additional information for privacy reasons, said spokesman Richard Walker.

Despite being in touch with a consular officer, Amal is urging the Canadian government to intervene at the highest levels and apply pressure on the Egyptian government for more information and his release.

More specifically, they want Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to intervene. In recent months, Freeland has spoken out about detentions of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and about the two Canadian men who remain in custody in China.

Walker was unable to confirm if either Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Freeland had been informed of the matter.

“We need the prime minister and Minister Freeland to pick up the phone now,” Amal said. “The biggest concern for us is his safety.”

“We can’t let our father spend another day in that horrible prison.”

‘By now, he will have been brutalized and tortured’

Egypt has been on the radar of human rights organizations and news agencies in recent months for its practice of arbitrary detentions and abuse of detainees. Amnesty’s 2018 report on the country found that “the authorities used torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance against hundreds of people, and dozens were extrajudicially executed with impunity.”

The same day as Albaz’s arrest, Egyptian authorities detained a New York Times correspondent David Kirkpatrick, holding him incommunicado for hours before forcing him onto a flight back to London without explanation. At the time, Michael Slackman, international editor of The New York Times, said: “We are deeply disturbed that the government of Egypt detained our correspondent, kept him incommunicado, denied him food or water and refused to allow him into the country.”

Albaz is the fifth high-profile arrest of a Canadian in Egypt over the past five years, including John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, and Khaled Al-Qazzaz.

At the time, the government’s direct intervention aided in their release.

“I know exactly the journey he took from the first step he took to now,” Loubani, an emergency physician at the London Health Sciences Centre, said in an interview. “By now, he will have been brutalized and tortured…It’s been a week. I guarantee they’re trying to hide their scars or worse. “

Loubani was detained by the Egyptian government in 2013 with Greyson, without explanation for over 50 days. They were both “beaten to a pulp” in what he calls was a “welcoming celebration” that every inmate at Tora prison received. He describes it as “an eight hour long brutality.”

“It’s not a secret there,” he said. “Everybody knows about it.”

When Loubani demanded a medical examination, the doctors found he had broken ribs and that he was urinating blood. Greyson had an obvious boot mark in his back.

“The experience was mine and I never want it to be anybody else’s,” he said. “I do not care what this man’s political inclination is. What I know is no man deserves that treatment.”

Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy was also released in 2015 after spending more than 400 days in a maximum security Egyptian prison.

‘He needs to come home today’

The entire detention process in Egypt is defined by its arbitrariness and brutality, Loubani said of his experience. “This is the MO of the Egyptian dictatorship,” he said, noting that the only thing that got him and Greyson released was “massive pressure by the Canadian government.”

There is no legal exit for Albaz, Loubani said, because there is no independent judiciary in Egypt at the moment.

“It is 100 per cent subservient to the military dictatorship,” he said. “There’s only one solution here and that solution is political…”They need to apply pressure because these things will only get worse over time. Canada’s voice matters and Canada’s voice has a say is (Albaz’s) case.”

“I know that we can’t realistically stop the arrest of every Egyptian that’s being unfairly detained but…it’s incumbent on us to protect the people we can, and that’s Canadians,” he added.

The Albaz family says it is most concerned about the prison’s brutal reputation.

“We’ve been in Canada for two decades,” Amal told National Observer. “We’ve traveled back and forth many times and nothing like this has ever happened.”

The community has rallied around the family; Albaz was a well-known philanthropist and businessman in the community. But, the family hasn’t been able to sleep or eat properly since, Amal said.

“Every time we think about how stressed we are, we think about how much worse it is for him,” she said. “He needs to come home today.”

Family of Oakville man detained in Egypt calls on feds to step in

Read here: https://torontosun.com/news/national/family-of-oakville-man-detained-in-egypt-calls-on-feds-to-step-in

Yasser Ahmed Albaz and his wife Safaa Elashmawy are seen in an undated handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Safaa Elashmawy)

Family members of a Canadian man detained in Egypt are calling on the federal government to step in and bring him home, citing concerns for his safety after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said her family was “torn apart” when her father was stopped at Cairo International Airport on Feb. 18 on his way back to Canada. She said he had his passport seized by Egyptian authorities and was taken in for questioning.

He managed to message the family from the airport about what was happening, telling him he loves them, but Albaz said the family hasn’t heard from him since.

“It was on Family Day, when families are supposed to come together, mine was torn apart. My dad was trying to come home,” she said.

She said her father, 51-year-old Yasser Ahmed Albaz, who lives in Oakville. Ont., has been in Egypt on a business trip for his engineering firm since December. Amal said her family still doesn’t know why he was detained and questioned.

Amal said the family immediately contact Global Affairs Canada, which provided a list of lawyers the family could contact to assist Yasser.

Amal said a lawyer was hired, and on Saturday night, he told the family that Yasser is being held in a prison in the Tora Prison complex in Cairo, but no charges have been laid and it is not known why he remains in custody.

The prison has been the subject of concern from various human rights groups where advocates and journalists have been detained and imprisoned in the last few years.

In November 2017, a top judicial agency in Egypt agreed to review the prison to assess whether it suitable to house inmates after allegations the prison was cutting off access to families and lawyers and not providing medical treatment to prisoners.

“My family and I are worried for his safety,” said Amal. “We can’t sleep, we can’t eat, we can’t do anything.”

A Global Affairs Canada spokesman said on Saturday that the government agency is aware that a Canadian citizen was detained in Egypt and consular services were provided, but he could not provide further information citing privacy concerns.

Amal said she is concerned that she has not been told where her father was immediately after he was detained or how long he was in the prison. She said the lawyer told her and her family that Yasser will be questioned by Egyptian authorities again on Tuesday, but she hopes the Canadian government will get involved before then.

“My father needs to come home,” she said. “He needs to come home today.”

Family of Oakville man detained in Egypt calls for intervention from Canadian government

Read here: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/02/24/family-of-oakville-man-detained-in-egypt-calls-for-intervention-from-canadian-government.html

The family of a Canadian man detained in Egypt is calling on the federal government to step in after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge. Yasser Ahmed Albaz and his wife, Safaa Elashmawy, are seen in an undated handout photo.

The family of a Canadian man detained in Egypt is calling for the Canadian government to intervene at the highest levels after he was taken from an airport in Cairo last week.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, 51, of Oakville was returning home from a business trip on Family Day when he was stopped at the Cairo International Airport and his passport confiscated, according to a press release sent by his daughter, Amal Ahmed Albaz.

“This is clearly a misunderstanding,” she told the Star. “My father was there on business. He has no political affiliations and he’s not active politically.”

According to the release, Ahmed Albaz’s family called the Global Affairs Canada emergency hotline within hours of his disappearance to open a case. Richard Walker, a spokesperson with Global Affairs, confirmed that Global Affairs is aware that a Canadian citizen was detained in Egypt.

“Consular services are being provided and officials are in contact with local authorities,” said Walker, adding that due to the provisions of the Privacy Act no further information could be disclosed.

According to his daughter, the last messages received from her father were sent via WhatsApp, one around 10 p.m. EST Monday telling his family he loved them, and another some time later to a friend in Egypt confirming he had been taken by Egypt’s state security.

On Saturday, his family’s Egyptian lawyer and the Canadian Embassy were notified that he had appeared at the Egyptian state security prosecutor’s office, according to the release, adding lawyers have confirmed he has not been charged, but he will continue to be held for additional questioning on Tuesday.

As of Sunday, Amal said the family had been informed her father had been transported to Tora Prison. She said they are concerned for his well-being due to the prison’s notoriety for harsh conditions.

She said members of the family’s community in Oakville have been quick to help, reaching out to their MPs to draw more attention to the issue. While Amal says she and her family are appreciative of the Canadian government’s involvement so far, more pressure is needed to get her father back safely.

“It’s ironic that on Family Day, the day that families are supposed to come together, my family was torn apart,” Amal told the Star.

“We need our foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, and our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to intervene,” she said. “They need to pick up the phone today. He needs to come home today.”

Family of Canadian man detained in Egypt ‘torn apart,’ asks feds for help

Read here: https://globalnews.ca/news/4994384/canadian-man-detained-egypt-family-government-help/

The family of a Canadian man detained in Egypt is calling on the federal government to step in after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge. .
 The family of a Canadian man detained in Egypt is calling on the federal government to step in after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Safaa Elashmawy

Family members of a Canadian man detained in Egypt are calling on the federal government to step in and bring him home, citing concerns for his safety after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said her family was “torn apart” when her father was stopped at Cairo International Airport on Feb. 18 on his way back to Canada. She said he had his passport seized by Egyptian authorities and was taken in for questioning.

He managed to message the family from the airport about what was happening, telling him he loves them, but Alabaz said the family hasn’t heard from him since.

She said her father, 51-year-old Yasser Ahmed Albaz, who lives in Oakville. Ont., has been in Egypt on a business trip for his engineering firm since December. Amal said her family still doesn’t know why he was detained and questioned.

Amal said the family immediately contact Global Affairs Canada, which provided a list of lawyers the family could contact to assit Yasser.

Amal said a lawyer was hired, and on Saturday night, he told the family that Yasser is being held in a prison in the Tora Prison complex in Cairo, but no charges have been laid and it is not known why he remains in custody.

The prison has been the subject of concern from various human rights groups where advocates and journalists have been detained and imprisoned in the last few years.

In November 2017, a top judicial agency in Egypt agreed to review the prison to assess whether it suitable to house inmates after allegations the prison was cutting off access to families and lawyers and not providing medical treatment to prisoners.

“My family and I are worried for his safety,” said Amal. “We can’t sleep, we can’t eat, we can’t do anything.”

A Global Affairs Canada spokesman said on Saturday that the government agency is aware that a Canadian citizen was detained in Egypt and consular services were provided, but he could not provide further information citing privacy concerns.

Amal said she is concerned that she has not been told where her father was immediately after he was detained or how long he was in the prison. She said the lawyer told her and her family that Yasser will be questioned by Egyptian authorities again on Tuesday, but she hopes the Canadian government will get involved before then.

“My father needs to come home,” she said. “He needs to come home today.”

Family calls on federal government to step in after Canadian man detained in Egypt

Read here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-family-calls-on-federal-government-to-step-in-after-canadian-man/

Yasser Ahmed Albaz and his wife Safaa Elashmawy are seen in an undated handout photo.HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Family members of a Canadian man detained in Egypt are calling on the federal government to step in and bring him home, citing concerns for his safety after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said her family was “torn apart” when her father was stopped at Cairo International Airport on Feb. 18 on his way back to Canada. She said he had his passport seized by Egyptian authorities and was taken in for questioning.

He managed to message the family from the airport about what was happening, telling him he loves them, but Alabaz said the family hasn’t heard from him since.

“It was on Family Day, when families are supposed to come together, mine was torn apart. My dad was trying to come home,” she said.

She said her father, 51-year-old Yasser Ahmed Albaz, who lives in Oakville. Ont., has been in Egypt on a business trip for his engineering firm since December. Amal said her family still doesn’t know why he was detained and questioned.

Amal said the family immediately contact Global Affairs Canada, which provided a list of lawyers the family could contact to assit Yasser.

Amal said a lawyer was hired, and on Saturday night, he told the family that Yasser is being held in a prison in the Tora Prison complex in Cairo, but no charges have been laid and it is not known why he remains in custody.

The prison has been the subject of concern from various human rights groups where advocates and journalists have been detained and imprisoned in the last few years.

In November 2017, a top judicial agency in Egypt agreed to review the prison to assess whether it suitable to house inmates after allegations the prison was cutting off access to families and lawyers and not providing medical treatment to prisoners.

“My family and I are worried for his safety,” said Amal. “We can’t sleep, we can’t eat, we can’t do anything.”

A Global Affairs Canada spokesman said on Saturday that the government agency is aware that a Canadian citizen was detained in Egypt and consular services were provided, but he could not provide further information citing privacy concerns.

Amal said she is concerned that she has not been told where her father was immediately after he was detained or how long he was in the prison. She said the lawyer told her and her family that Yasser will be questioned by Egyptian authorities again on Tuesday, but she hopes the Canadian government will get involved before then.

“My father needs to come home,” she said. “He needs to come home today.”

Family of Canadian detained in notorious Egypt prison calls on government to help

Read here: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/family-calls-on-canadian-government-to-step-in-after-man-detained-in-egypt

Yasser Ahmed Albaz and his wife Safaa Elashmawy are seen in an undated handout photo.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Safaa Elashmawy

The family of a Canadian man detained in Egypt is calling on the federal government to step in after they were informed that he is being held in a notorious prison without charge.

Amal Ahmed Albaz says her family was “torn apart” last week when her father was stopped at Cairo International Airport and had his passport seized by Egyptian authorities.

She says her father, 51-year-old Yasser Ahmed Albaz, who lives in Oakville. Ont., had been in Egypt on a business trip for his engineering firm since December, and the family doesn’t know why he was detained and questioned.

Amal says her father’s lawyer told the family on Saturday night that Yasser is being held in a prison in Cairo, which has been the subject of concern from various human rights groups, but no charges have been laid and it is not known why he remains in custody.

A Global Affairs Canada spokesman says the government agency is aware that a Canadian citizen was detained in Egypt and consular services were provided, but he could not provide further information citing privacy concerns.

Amal says the lawyer told the family that Yasser will be questioned by Egyptian authorities again on Tuesday, but she is concerned for her father’s safety and hopes the Canadian government will get involved in bringing him home.

‘Horror-struck’ family calls for release of Canadian detained in Egypt

Read here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/horror-struck-family-calls-for-release-of-canadian-detained-in-egypt-1.5031404

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, left, pictured with his wife, Safaa Elashmawy. He was taken from the Cairo airport and is in Egyptian custody. (Amal Ahmed Albaz/Suppled)

The family of a Canadian man detained in Egypt is calling for the highest level of intervention from the Canadian government after he disappeared from the Cairo airport on Monday.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, 51, has been in Egypt for business since December. When he attempted to board his flight home to Oakville, Ont., this week, his family says his passport was confiscated and an officer later told him his name had been flagged for investigation. 

He texted his family to tell them he loved them.

A text message to a friend from Albaz later that night said state security was arresting him. That was the last anyone had heard from him.

“The biggest concern for us is his safety,” his daughter Amal Ahmed Albaz told CBC News on Saturday. “Our family was horror-struck.”

The family reported his disappearance to Global Affairs immediately. 

The government department said in a statement they were aware of the detention of a Canadian citizen, but for privacy reasons spokesperson Richard Walker said no other information could be disclosed. Consular services are being provided to the family. 

Amal said the government told them earlier this week that Canadian officials in Egypt are in contact with the local government to get answers. She was told originally the state denied they were holding Albaz, but later admitted he’s in custody and would not say where or provide other information. 

Late Saturday night, Global Affairs notified the family that Albaz was being questioned at the State Security Prosecutor’s office. He has so far not been charged with any crimes, but Amal said her father’s lawyer learned Albaz will be held for more questioning on Tuesday. He was then transported to Tora prison, just south of Cairo.

“An injustice has been done to my father,” she said. “We need him home now.”

The Albaz family is originally from Egypt and has been living as citizens in Canada for almost two decades. Business and vacations take them back and forth between the two countries regularly.

Amal says her father isn’t political — he’s an engineer by profession — and she can think of no reason for his detention.

She added she appreciates the government’s efforts so far, but as the days wear on, it’s time to step up the pressure on the Egyptian government for more information. 

The family is asking Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to step in and call for his release. Freeland has previously spoken out about detentions of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and about the two Canadian men who remain in custody in China.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian groups have criticized the north African nation for arbitrary detentions and abuse of detainees. 

“The authorities used torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance against hundreds of people, and dozens were extrajudicially executed with impunity,” Amnesty’s 2018 report on the country warns. 

That’s what worries Amal. 

“There is great concern around the condition of his detention and if he is being treated according to international human rights laws.”