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Daughter of Canadian jailed in Egypt seeks help, says he’s at risk due to COVID-19

Read here: https://globalnews.ca/news/7056246/canadian-egypt-canadian-covid-19/

OTTAWA — The daughter of a Canadian man imprisoned in Cairo for more than a year says her father is at risk of succumbing to COVID-19 unless the government can win his freedom.

Amal Ahmed Albaz is once again pleading with the Canadian government to come to the aid of her 52-year father, Yasser Ahmed Albaz, an engineer from Oakville, Ont.

He has been in a Cairo prison since February 2019, when he was detained at the airport on his way home from a business trip.

Albaz is a dual citizen who was travelling on his Canadian passport.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz and his wife Safaa Elashmawy are seen in an undated handout photo. The daughter of Albaz, a Canadian man imprisoned in Cairo for almost a year and a half, says her father is at risk of succumbing to COVID-19 unless the government can win his freedom.T (HE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Safaa Elashmawy)
 Yasser Ahmed Albaz and his wife Safaa Elashmawy are seen in an undated handout photo. The daughter of Albaz, a Canadian man imprisoned in Cairo for almost a year and a half, says her father is at risk of succumbing to COVID-19 unless the government can win his freedom.T (HE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Safaa Elashmawy). THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Safaa Elashmawy, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

His daughter says his family still does not know why he was detained and questioned and that he has not been charged.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

But she says his situation has grown more dire in recent days because he has developed COVID-19 symptoms and a fellow 42-year-old prisoner has died from the disease.

“This is a matter of life and death right now,” Amal Ahmed Albaz said Thursday.

“We are terrified for his life, of course, and we need our government to do as much as they can.”

She says her father has developed a severe cough, extreme fatigue, tightness in his chest and difficulty breathing.

He is also being held in a prison with unhygienic conditions, limited ventilation and almost no medical care.

She said her father has pre-existing medical conditions that put him at risk.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Canadian diplomats have been unable to visit him in prison since the March outbreak of the novel coronavirus, she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised his case during a visit to the African Union summit in February during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Global Affairs Canada said in a statement on Thursday night.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne raised the case with this Egyptian counterpart earlier this past week, the department said.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said Champagne has been responsive to her family, but she is calling on the government to ratchet up pressure to have him released.

“I feel like the Liberal government has failed my family, and if my father dies — which is a huge possibility — will have failed all Canadians for not being able to get a so-called ally and friend, Egypt, to respect a Canadian national and send him home.”

She said her family has been pushing the Canadian embassy since March to at least arrange a phone call with her father to make sure he’s OK.

Previously, another family member in Egypt had been able to visit but that has stopped because of COVID-19 restrictions, she said.

She said her father was able to find a way to get his family a leaked message about his current condition.

Fearing COVID-19, daughter pleads for Ontario dad’s release from Cairo prison

Read here: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/fearing-covid-19-daughter-pleads-for-ontario-dads-release-from-cairo-prison

OTTAWA — The daughter of a Canadian man imprisoned in Cairo for more than a year says her father is at risk of succumbing to COVID-19 unless the government can win his freedom.

Amal Ahmed Albaz is once again pleading with the Canadian government to come to the aid of her 52-year father, Yasser Ahmed Albaz, an engineer from Oakville, Ont.

He has been in a Cairo prison since February 2019, when he was detained at the airport on his way home from a business trip.

Albaz is a dual citizen who was travelling on his Canadian passport.

His daughter says his family still does not know why he was detained and questioned and that he has not been charged.

But she says his situation has grown more dire in recent days because he has developed COVID-19 symptoms and a fellow 42-year-old prisoner has died from the disease.

“This is a matter of life and death right now,” Amal Ahmed Albaz said Thursday.

“We are terrified for his life, of course, and we need our government to do as much as they can.”

She says her father has developed a severe cough, extreme fatigue, tightness in his chest and difficulty breathing.

He is also being held in a prison with unhygienic conditions, limited ventilation and almost no medical care.

She said her father has pre-existing medical conditions that put him at risk.

Canadian diplomats have been unable to visit him in prison since the March outbreak of the novel coronavirus, she said.

Global Affairs Canada had no immediate comment Thursday.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has been responsive to her family, but she is calling on the government to ratchet up pressure to have him released.

“I feel like the Liberal government has failed my family, and if my father dies — which is a huge possibility — will have failed all Canadians for not being able to get a so-called ally and friend, Egypt, to respect a Canadian national and send him home.”

She said her family has been pushing the Canadian embassy since March to at least arrange a phone call with her father to make sure he’s OK.

Previously, another family member in Egypt had been able to visit but that has stopped because of COVID-19 restrictions, she said.

She said her father was able to find a way to get his family a leaked message about his current condition.

On a December trip to Egypt for a development conference, Champagne raised Yasser Ahmed Albaz’s case directly with his counterpart.

Daughter writes poem to free Canadian man detained in Cairo prison without charge

Read here: https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/daughter-writes-poem-to-free-canadian-man-detained-in-cairo-prison-without-charge-1.4879745?fbclid=IwAR2GrnaZXmaItMkmFlGNJ9z6CG6M3MSPj5o_7NnMlbOEx0wbIfH0U7Nywjc

TORONTO — An Ontario poet is hoping that a poem she wrote will bring attention to the plight of her father, a Canadian man, who has been imprisoned for more than 400 days inside a Cairo jail notorious for its human violations.

Oakville, Ont. resident Amal Ahmed Albaz wrote the poem for her father, who spent his second birthday in a row at the Tora Prison despite having no charges or accusations laid against him.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, a 52-year-old Canadian engineer, has been imprisoned at the jail since February 2019 after he was detained at the airport on his way home from a business trip.

“It was the second birthday that he spent in prison alone and that was very devastating for us,” Amal told CTV News Toronto. “My father has always been one of my biggest supporters as a writer and as a poet and he has an absolute love for poetry.”

Wife of Yasser Albaz,

Amal said she is hoping the poem will remind Canadians and the government of her father’s situation. The Albaz family are concerned at the lack of progress made on the case since the imprisonment. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also heightened their worries.

“We are very grateful that the Canadian government considers this to be top priority, but at the same time, we have not seen any results and the question is why?” Amal said.

“Clearly, the Canadian governments approach is lacking something and it needs to be fixed … It’s about time our government intensified the negotiations for my father’s release and just brings him home.

“He is Canada’s responsibility. Every Canadian has the right to safely return home and we need to see that happen.”

It’s not the first time a Canadian resident has been arbitrarily detained in Egypt. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian doctor, spent seven weeks in Tora Prison without charges. Mohamed Fahmy, an award-winning Canadian journalist, had also been imprisoned for over a year.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz

Several other countries, including Germany, France and Australia, have successfully brought their nationals home after pressuring the Egyptian government.

Canadian officials have said they have tried to discuss Yasser’s case with Egyptian authorities, but Amal says that no progress has been made.

“The Prime Minister raised this case directly with the Egyptian President on the margins of the 33rd African Union Summit,” a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told CTV News Toronto.

Hundreds of emails and thousands of letters and phone calls have been made to the government from Canadians urging immediate action, Amal said.

“It came as a complete shock to everyone and this why everyone is completely devastated,” Amal said. “The fact that everyone has mobilized for him really speaks to his character and the type of man that he is.”

amal2

Amal’s poem to her father illustrates some of the grief and loss she and her family have felt. They have had no communication with Yasser since he was detained.

“To this day, there absolutely no justification, no charges laid, not a single accusation as to why our innocent father is unjustly detained or how he’s robbed of his freedom completely unexplained,” she writes.

“Baba, how can I sleep in my warm bed when you’re sleeping on cold, concrete floor? How can I be in comfort when I know your entire body is sore?”

She writes that her father has missed his youngest daughter’s wedding, his son’s graduation and all his grandchildren’s milestones—events, she said, that are painful to get through without him.  

Family of Canadian man detained in Egypt urges government to help bring him home

Read here: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/12/11/family-of-canadian-man-detained-in-egypt-urges-government-to-help-bring-him-home.html

OTTAWA—The family of a Canadian man who has been in a Cairo prison for the last 10 months wants Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who is in Egypt this week, to secure his release and bring him home.

“My father has been asking every single day what Canada is doing to get him out and bring him home,” his daughter, Amal Ahmed Albaz, said at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“We need more than just caring,” she said.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, a 51-year-old engineer from Oakville, Ont., has been in a Cairo prison since February, when he was detained at the airport on his way home from a business trip. He is a dual citizen who was travelling on his Canadian passport.

Adam Austen, a spokesman for Champagne, said the foreign affairs minister raised the case directly with his Egyptian counterpart Wednesday.

Champagne is in Aswan, Egypt, this week for an African development conference.

“We will continue to raise it at the highest levels of the Egyptian government and consular officials will remain in regular contact with local authorities,” Austen wrote in an email Wednesday. He said he could provide no further details for privacy reasons.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said her family still does not know why her father was detained and questioned and that he has not been charged.

“My father has done absolutely nothing wrong. He has suffered immensely,” she said.

“He needs medical help and he needs to be reunited with our family.”

Justin Mohammed, the human rights law and policy campaigner at Amnesty International, also urged the federal government to take stronger action.

“Ongoing detention without charge is unacceptable and the minister must ensure that his Egyptian counterparts put an immediate end to the human rights abuses that Yasser is suffering,” he said at the news conference Wednesday.

The family has been told by his lawyer that Yasser Ahmed Albaz is being held in the Tora Prison complex in Cairo, which has been the subject of concern by various human rights groups in recent years.

His daughter said he immigrated to Canada from Egypt more than 20 years ago and that the Egyptian government is aware that he is Canadian.

“He’s done absolutely nothing wrong. He has no political affiliation whatsoever,” she said. “He’s not active politically, so this came as a complete shock to our family when it happened and to this day we are very concerned and we’re very confused.”

His wife, Safaa Eleshmawy, said the role that her husband played in the community is one of the reasons he has so much support.

“He dedicated his life to help others,” she said.

She said he never turned his back when he saw someone in need.

“A country should be proud of such a citizen and not leave him behind.”

Family of Ontario man detained in Egypt pleads for help from Ottawa

Read here: https://globalnews.ca/video/6285334/family-of-ontario-man-detained-in-egypt-urges-action-from-ottawa-for-release

The family of a Canadian man who has been in a Cairo prison for the last 10 months wants Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who is in Egypt this week, to secure his release and bring him home.

“My father has been asking every single day what Canada is doing to get him out and bring him home,” his daughter, Amal Ahmed Albaz, said at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“We need more than just caring,” she said.

Yasser Ahmed Albaz, a 51-year-old engineer from Oakville, Ont., has been in a Cairo prison since February, when he was detained at the airport on his way home from a business trip. He is a dual citizen who was travelling on his Canadian passport.

Adam Austen, a spokesman for Champagne, said the foreign affairs minister raised the case directly with his Egyptian counterpart Wednesday.

Champagne is in Aswan, Egypt, this week for an African development conference.

“We will continue to raise it at the highest levels of the Egyptian government and consular officials will remain in regular contact with local authorities,” Austen wrote in an email Wednesday. He said he could provide no further details for privacy reasons.

Amal Ahmed Albaz said her family still does not know why her father was detained and questioned and that he has not been charged.

“My father has done absolutely nothing wrong. He has suffered immensely,” she said.

“He needs medical help and he needs to be reunited with our family.”

Justin Mohammed, the human rights law and policy campaigner at Amnesty International, also urged the federal government to take stronger action.

“Ongoing detention without charge is unacceptable and the minister must ensure that his Egyptian counterparts put an immediate end to the human rights abuses that Yasser is suffering,” he said at the news conference Wednesday.

The family has been told by his lawyer that Yasser Ahmed Albaz is being held in the Tora Prison complex in Cairo, which has been the subject of concern by various human rights groups in recent years.

His daughter said he immigrated to Canada from Egypt more than 20 years ago and that the Egyptian government is aware that he is Canadian.

“He’s done absolutely nothing wrong. He has no political affiliation whatsoever,” she said. “He’s not active politically, so this came as a complete shock to our family when it happened and to this day we are very concerned and we’re very confused.”

His wife, Safaa Eleshmawy, said the role that her husband played in the community is one of the reasons he has so much support.

“He dedicated his life to help others,” she said.

She said he never turned his back when he saw someone in need.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“A country should be proud of such a citizen and not leave him behind.”

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.”

Family of Canadian man detained in Egypt plead for help

The family of Amal Ahmed Albaz, a Canadian man detained in a notorious Egyptian prison, are pleading with the Canadian government to help them bring him home. Faiza Amin with the latest on the diplomatic efforts to help the Oakville resident.

Family of Canadian man detained in Egypt plead for help

The family of Amal Ahmed Albaz, a Canadian man detained in a notorious Egyptian prison, are pleading with the Canadian government to help them bring him home. Faiza Amin with the latest on the diplomatic efforts to help the Oakville resident.

Posted by CityNews Toronto on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Daughter of Canadian man detained in Egypt begs Trudeau to intervene

Read here: https://www.trtworld.com/mea/daughter-of-canadian-man-detained-in-egypt-begs-trudeau-to-intervene-24600

Last month as Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el Sisi was mingling with senior European leaders in the resort city of Sharm el Sheikh, a 24-year-old Amal Ahmed was busy in Canada mobilising support for her father who had been detained by the Egyptian authorities. 

After a short business trip, Yasser Ahmed Albaz, 51, was about to board a Canada-bound flight on February 18 at the Cairo International Airport when his passport was taken away and his bags brought down from the plane. 

“At 10 o’clock he wrote on our family Whatsapp group that he loved us. We didn’t hear from him for a week,” Amal told TRT World over the phone from her home in Oakville, Ontario, where the family of five has lived for 20 years. 

Initially, the Egyptian authorities denied Albaz was in their custody.  Then he was brought before the prosecutor a week later. 

“He hasn’t been charged with anything,” says Amal.

Amal Ahmed, a former Toronto Star reporter, has pleaded Canadian government to intervene in securing her father's release.
Amal Ahmed, a former Toronto Star reporter, has pleaded Canadian government to intervene in securing her father’s release. (Getty Images)

The family’s biggest concern is that Albaz is being kept at the Tora Prison, which is notorious as a place where prisoners are routinely tortured. 

Amal says she and her family travels to Egypt regularly. “We were there just last summer to celebrate my younger sister’s engagement. Nothing like this has ever happened. We have never been questioned or anything like that.”

The Egyptian government is accused of arbitrarily arresting thousands of political and civil rights activists on fabricated charges.

While American and European lawmakers have voiced concerns over human rights violations, their governments continue to back Sisi, a former military commander who came to power in a coup in 2013. 

Since then the Egyptian military has used brutal force to stifle any sort of dissent – often with the indirect backing of its western allies. 

In January 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron was in Egypt where he defended France's security collaboration with Sisi's government.
In January 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron was in Egypt where he defended France’s security collaboration with Sisi’s government. (Getty Images)

Double standards

The EU’s commitment to human rights, especially its staunch opposition to capital punishment, came under the spotlight last month when its senior leadership, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, attended the first EU-Arab League summit in Sharm el Sheikh. 

In the month of February alone Egypt executed 15 men after trials which the United Nations and other human rights organisations termed ‘unfair’. 

It has made some European lawmakers question the close ties with Sisi’s government. 

“We cannot deny the fact that holding of the summit in Egypt at the court of the Pharaoh Al Sisi, has recognised, by default, the authority of the Egyptian dictator,” Pier Antonio Panzeri, a member of the European Parliament, told TRT World

Panzeri, an Italian, heads the EU’s Subcommittee on Human Rights which has been pressing Egypt to solve the case of Giulio Regeni, the young researcher who was murdered in Cairo in 2016.

Paola, the mother of Giulio Regeni, speaks at a press conference in Rome on March 29, 2016.
Paola, the mother of Giulio Regeni, speaks at a press conference in Rome on March 29, 2016. (AP)

“It thus seems absurd that the heads of European governments can truly believe the promises made by the Egyptian leader,” said Panzeri. Particularly, he added, when Sisi is seeking to amend the constitution to extend his rule and his government had just executed so many people.

EU leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron consider Egypt important in fighting terrorism and stemming the flow of refugees. 

France has become Egypt’s largest supplier of military equipment even as human rights organisations say that weapons meant to be deployed against terrorists are used against dissidents. 

“The alarmist political narrative (of migration) that has spread through the EU member states in recent years – especially those bordering the Mediterranean – has increased citizens’ concerns about the issue exponentially,” says Panzeri. 

“For this reason, many countries have preferred to close their eyes to the human rights situation, provided that Egypt takes responsibility for migrants from other African countries, thus acting as a barrier.”

The EU has struggled to come up with a collective response to Egypt because individual member states have their own bilateral interests to look after, he says. 

“Let us not forget that the European Union is a fundamental trading partner for Egypt, and trade can therefore be used as a tool to force the North African country to meet certain standards in the field of human rights.”

Egypt has even detained US citizens, which gives over a billion dollars in military and economic aid to Sisi’s government every year. 

Hosam Khalaf and Ola al Qaradawi, both from the United States, have been in an Egyptian prison since June 2017 without any charges

Washington also looks at its decades-old ally from the prism of security.  

Amid these varying policy interests, Amal is hoping for her father’s return. “It has been a shock for us and I hope the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will take up the issue.”

‘I want my father home’: Family of man detained in Egypt calls on Canada to intervene

Read here: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/i-want-my-father-home-family-man-detained-egypt-calls-canada-intervene

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government has been accused of using arbitrary detention to silence its critics (Reuters/File photo)

The family of an Egyptian-Canadian man detained in Egypt for almost two weeks has called on the “highest levels” of Canada’s government to intervene, saying they fear for the safety of Yasser Ahmed Albaz.

In a news conference on Thursday morning in Ottawa, Albaz’s daughter, Amal, said her family has been living a nightmare since 18 February, when Albaz was detained at Cairo International Airport.

“Our lives have turned upside down. Our pain is like a cloud that’s constantly hovering over us … We’re all impacted by this storm,” she told reporters.

“We need the Canadian government to intervene at the highest levels and bring my father home.”

Albaz, a 51-year-old engineer and businessman, was detained at the airport in Cairo as he attempted to return to Canada from a business trip. At first, the Egyptian authorities denied he was in their custody, his family said.

“My father was subjected to enforced disappearance for days,” Amal said.

The family was able to confirm Albaz’s whereabouts when he was taken to the Egyptian state security prosecutor’s office for questioning on 23 February, they said in a statement earlier this week.

He was interrogated again a few days later, on 26 February.

He now is being held at the notorious Tora prison facility in the capital, and his family says they expect him to be questioned again on Saturday.

“Until this moment, my dad continues to be detained at one of the worst prisons in the world. He is sleeping on a concrete floor, without a blanket,” Amal said.

Fears of abuse, mistreatment

Albaz’s family and supporters in Canada also raised concerns on Thursday about the conditions he may be facing in Egyptian detention.

The Egyptian government under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been accused of myriad human rights violations, including the use of torture in order to coerce confessions from detainees.

Human rights groups have described the country’s justice system as deeply flawed, pointing to a widespread lack of due process.

On Monday, a Canadian government spokesman told MEE in an email that “consular services are being provided to a Canadian citizen who has been detained in Egypt and to their family”.

The spokesman said further details could not be provided in light of Canada’s privacy laws.

Ahmed Abdelkader, chairman of the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy, an advocacy group, said while consular services are important, the Canadian government must escalate its diplomatic pressure on Egypt to secure Albaz’s release.Egypt: Executed prisoners had said they were forced to confess to prosecutor’s killingRead More »

“[Albaz] is not the first Canadian to be arbitrarily detained by the current Egyptian regime. Despite lessons learned from past cases, we are concerned that Canadian officials don’t appear to be treating the case with the urgency that it warrants,” Abdelkader said.

Speaking at the news conference on Thursday, he said that to his knowledge, Albaz has not been charged with a crime.

“A Canadian citizen is being arbitrarily held without charge by a brutal regime known for torture and abuse of prisoners,” Abdelkader said.

“It is imperative that [Canadian officials] use any leverage they have in these relations [with Egypt] to secure Yasser’s release. Every moment’s delay increases the risk to Yasser’s safety.”

That was echoed by Amal, Albaz’s daughter.

“We all lost weight, we all can’t sleep – but who am I to complain? It’s my baba [father] who’s truly suffering,” she said.

“We miss you, baba … I want this storm to end. I want to see the rainbow. I want my father home.”