Long-forgotten political prisoners included among 1,610 Canadians currently imprisoned abroad


Canadians Tarek Loubani, a doctor, and John Greyson, a filmmaker, will return home as small-time celebrities after their detainment in Egypt became national news.

Both men were swept up in a mass arrest during a bloody riot and held for 51 days in Egypt without charges. After weeks of growing public outrage, they were released over the weekend.

Their story may be brutal, but it’s hardly unique. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFAIT), about 1,610 Canadians were imprisoned abroad as of August. The majority of these cases will never warrant a newspaper story. Some of these Canadians were arrested for drug trafficking or assaults. Some are political prisoners who have been long forgotten, left to serve interminable sentences.

Most detained Canadians — 1,121 — are serving time in the United States. Of those, one Canadian is facing the death penalty. A further 77 Canadians have been incarcerated in China; 66 in Australia and 17 in the Dominican Republic.

“The rule of thumb is that anything a Canadian will do in Canada, they will do in a foreign country,” said Gar Pardy, a retired Canadian ambassador. “If you look at any given time, there are about 1,800 to 2,000 Canadians in a foreign jail. The majority of them relate to drugs, and then it spirals out from that; assault, murder, rape. And you get robbery, fraud, all of those things crop up in these cases.”

Canada’s consular officers have limited powers to act on behalf of citizens in foreign countries; it’s local law that applies to Canadians who travel abroad.

No country boasts pleasant jails, Mr. Pardy added. However, detention in other countries can be particularly gruelling. In addition to language barriers, foreign justice systems don’t always adhere to Canadian notions of fairness; they can be heavily influenced by local political realities.

Although the arrest of Mr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson sparked widespread outrage, Mr. Pardy, who has handled similar cases numerous times during his career, said he was actually quite impressed by Egyptian authorities, considering the circumstances.

“The Egyptian authorities were being fairly co-operative with the two. People in the Cairo embassy were in contact with them on a regular basis, they could bring in medical help,” he said. “The two got pretty good local legal assistance … they seem to be trying to work the system as well as they can. The basic dynamic at work here is that the Egyptian system is a system that is under extreme stress, and it’s subject to the political system.”

And as friends and family express relief at Mr. Loubani and Mr. Greyson’s expected return, it’s worth recalling a few of the other Canadians who remain incarcerated abroad.

Huseyincan Celil

Relations between China and Canada have long been strained by the continued imprisonment of Huseyincan Celil. The Uyghur imam was arrested in 2006 on terrorism charges. He was taken into custody in Uzbekistan while visiting family and later deported to China where he was sentenced to life imprisonment for supporting separatist activities. However, Canadian diplomats have long claimed Mr. Celil was wrongfully jailed. The continued detention of the imam remains a bone of contention, despite the warming trade relationship between the two countries. In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: “The government of Canada, when a Canadian citizen is ill-treated and when the rights of a Canadian citizen need to be defended, I think it’s always the obligation of the government of Canada to vocally and publicly stand up for that Canadian citizen.”

Hossein Derakhshan



Canada has its own political prisoners. Any father who comments or objects to Male Sharia Law runs a real risk of the termination of all his legal rights and indefinite repeated incarceration. Its done by way of "draconian orders".  Take Darren White, he was ordered to pay nearly of his income in Child Support. There are fathers who after getting orders for support based on an income level they did not or don't earn, end up applying and receiving welfare. It's also filling the jails with NON Criminals whose only crime was to be a loving devoted father.

Hossein Derakhshan was a well-known Iranian blogger who attended school in Toronto and began writing a Persian language blog from Canada in 2000. He was deeply critical of Iran’s regime, but also defended the country’s right to defend itself against potential attacks by the U.S.

Iranian authorities banned his website as the activist taught other young Iranians how to establish blogs and circumvent the country’s censorship apparatus. Mr. Derakhshan returned home in 2008 to visit family and was promptly arrested for “collaborating with enemy states, creating propaganda against the Islamic regime, insulting religious sanctity and creating propaganda for anti-revolutionary groups.” He was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison, according to the CBC. His blog, advocacy work and subsequent imprisonment has since been credited with helping to foment the 2011 Iranian youth protests.

Saeed Malekpour

A permanent Canadian resident and software engineer, Saeed Malekpour was also arrested in 2008 while visiting his terminally ill father in Iran. He was charged with desecrating Islam because he created software that was later used by pornographers. Mr. Malekpour was allegedly tortured while in custody at the country’s notorious Evin prison, according to Amnesty International. He was convicted by an Iranian court and sentenced to death. According to Reuters, his death sentence was later suspended after Mr. Malekpour “repented for his actions.” The Canadian government has said Mr. Malekpour “failed to receive fair and transparent legal treatment.”

Mohammed el-Attar

A former CIBC bank teller from Toronto who was accused of using his job to spy on the local Arab community, Mohammed el-Attar is currently serving a 15-year sentence in an Egyptian prison. He was convicted of being an Israeli spy in 2007. According to court documents witnessed by the Globe and Mail, Mr. el-Attar was a gay Zionist who applied for a job with the Israeli Mossad and was relocated to Canada as a refugee. He then used his position as a bank teller to identify potential recruits. Mr. el- Attar, who holds dual Canadian and Egyptian citizenship, later told the court that he confessed to the crime after he was tortured, according to the CBC. He said he was given electric shocks and forced to drink his urine. He also said Egyptian authorities threatened his family.


Bashir Makhtal

Bashir Makhtal was among hundreds of people arrested in 2006 while fleeing ongoing sectarian violence in Somalia. According to Amnesty International, Mr. Makhtal was arrested in Kenya and secretly extradited to Ethiopia where he was charged with multiple counts of terrorism. Ethiopian authorities accused him of being a leader of the Ogaden National Liberation Front — an independence-seeking ethnic Somali group founded by Mr. Makhtal’s grandfather. Amnesty International called the subsequent trial “grossly unfair” and suggested Mr. Makhtal’s arrest was part of a larger program targeting ethnic Ogaden Somalis. Mr. Makhtal was nonetheless found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to life in prison. As late as this year, some news reports




Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre

The real criminals are the dead beat underbelly Judges of the Ontario Court of Justice who make such orders as their way of exercising sadistic pleasure.

These same Male Sharia Law Judges of the Ontario Court of Justice spend their entire careers destroying the Rule of Law while committing offences against the administration of justice.

No, its not Iran its the Corrupt World of Family Court in Ontario Canada