Montreal

Mother of woman allegedly trapped in Saudi Arabia makes public plea

The mother of a Quebec woman allegedly held against her will in Saudi Arabia is pleading with the Canadian government to help her daughter.

The mother of a Quebec woman allegedly held against her will in Saudi Arabia is pleading with the Canadian government to help her daughter.

Nathalie Morin has been living with her husband Samir Said Ramthi Al-Bishi for more than three years in Saudi Arabia.

She said he has forbidden her to leave their home and beats her regularly.

On Tuesday, Morin's mother, Johanne Durocher, met reporters in Montreal to chastise the Canadian government for how it is handling her daughter's case.

Durocher accused the government of breaching its duty to protect its citizens under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

She played an audio recording of a recent phone call with her daughter, in which Morin said she feels guilty for bringing her Canadian-born son to Saudi Arabia in 2005.

She pleads for Canada's help to bring them back.

Morin has since given birth to two other children — one of whom Durocher alleges was conceived through rape.

Durocher said she is worried about the young children's safety. 

A Canadian official sought to broker a deal between the couple when he visited them before Christmas, but details of their discussions were not released.

MPs speak out on Morin's behalf

MPs who have taken an interest in the case said the government could be doing more.

"The Canadian government evokes women's rights as the primary motivating factor in our involvement in Afghanistan, and yet when it deals with Saudi Arabia it puts on kid gloves," said NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair.

Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde and Liberal MP Bernard Patry have also spoken out on behalf of Morin's case.

Montreal-based constitutional lawyer Julius Grey has agreed to take Morin's file free of charge.

He said he is prepared to take the government to court if it isn't more proactive.