New Brunswick

Hundreds rally for jailed N.B. farmer

A crowd of roughly 400 people attended a rally of support on Sunday in Grand Falls for Henk Tepper, the potato farmer who has been stuck in a Lebanese jail for more than seven months.

A crowd of roughly 400 people gathered in Grand Falls on Sunday to show their support for Henk Tepper, the potato farmer who has been stuck in a Lebanese jail for more than seven months.

People at the rally signed petitions to the governments of Canada, Lebanon and Algeria to seek Tepper's release.

Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc told those at the rally that he is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call Lebanese authorities to get Tepper home.

Tepper, 44, has been held in a Beirut prison since March under an international arrest warrant over allegations that potatoes he exported to Algeria in 2007 were rotten.

While Tepper has been in jail, his family has been in court trying to protect the farm.

On Friday, a New Brunswick judge extended creditor protection on Tepper's farm until Nov. 28.

Bob Creamer, Tepper's lawyer, said the family is seeking time to repay more than $8 million owed by Tobique Farms.

Creamer said last week the companies continue to work closely with the creditors and a court-appointed monitor. He said he's hopeful a plan will be in place by the court appearance next month.

In the meantime, the companies continue to operate under court protection.

Tepper operates Tobique Farms, which at 1,214 hectares is one of New Brunswick's largest producers.

The northwestern New Brunswick farmer had been trying to find new markets for seed potatoes — potatoes used to start new crops — overseas when he was jailed in Lebanon.

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