New Brunswick

Rally in Grand Falls for jailed potato farmer

Demonstrators are walking through the town of Grand Falls, New Brunswick Sunday afternoon, as part of a rally for imprisoned potato farmer Henk Tepper.
About 200 gathered in Grand Falls, N.B. to rally for Henk Tepper's safe return from a Beirut jail before Christmas. (Bernard Lebel/Radio-Canada)
Henk Tepper was detained March 23 and is in a jail in Beirut, Lebanon. (Facebook)
About 200 demonstrators walked through the town of Grand Falls, New Brunswick Sunday afternoon, as part of a rally for imprisoned potato farmer Henk Tepper.

They ended up in front of a Christmas tree outside the office of MP Mike Allen, which they decorated with yellow ribbons and small potato bag ornaments.

Chuck Chiasson, one of the rally's organizers, thanked those who joined the rally through a Free Henk Tepper Facebook group.

"It means a lot to the family to know that the community supports them," he posted.

Tepper, 44, was arrested and has been held in a prison in Beirut since March 23 under an Interpol arrest warrant over allegations that potatoes he exported to Algeria in 2007 were rotten.

His supporters say Ottawa hasn't done enough to help him, and this is the latest rally asking the government to bring Tepper home.

"It feels really good because it shows us all the community support and the community that's standing behind us. They find it an unbelievable story, that Henk is still in Beirut and not home yet," said Tepper's sister Harmien Dionne.

Tepper's family farm, Tobique Farms — a 1,214-hectare potato farming operation that is one of the province’s largest potato producers — is under protection from its creditors until the end of the month. It owes more than $8 million.  

 

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