Canadian Salim Alaradi acquitted in United Arab Emirates
Salim Alaradi, a Canadian businessman detained for nearly two years in the United Arab Emirates, has been acquitted on the charge of collecting donations without permission of the appropriate ministry and sending them to a foreign country.
Canadian officials now expect Alaradi's prompt return to Canada.
"We expect an expedited process to promptly reunite him with his family and friends," Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion said in a statement. "Canadian officials will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr. Alaradi and his family, including by helping to facilitate his return home."
A judge said the evidence did not meet the latest charge against the Libyan-Canadian, according to a lawyer working for Alaradi's family.
However, Alaradi is not yet a free man. After the verdict was read, he was transported back to prison.
Paul Champ, an Ottawa human rights lawyer hired by Alaradi's family in Canada, called Monday "a great day for justice," when speaking to Windsor Morning host Doucette not long after the verdict.
You can listen to the interview below:
After first spending 17 months in a U.A.E. prison, the Windsor, Ont., businessman was charged with several terrorism-related charges in January of 2016. Those charges were dropped in March 2016. Alaradi was then charged with collecting donations without permission of the appropriate ministry and sending them to a foreign country.
Champ had been expecting to get Alaradi out of the country as soon as possible, following an acquittal. The plan was for Alaradi to go to Istanbul for medical attention and then return to Windsor, Ont., which his family calls home.
Alaradi's daughter Marwa is happy with the verdict but upset her father was taken back into custody. She took to Twitter to voice her displeasure.
Very Happy but <a href="https://twitter.com/freesalimaradi">@freesalimaradi</a> is not home yet<a href="https://t.co/H6QNYMmDQ7">https://t.co/H6QNYMmDQ7</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/May30?src=hash">#May30</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Freedom?src=hash">#Freedom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/uae?src=hash">#uae</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau">@JustinTrudeau</a> <a href="https://t.co/roYqcWZ6br">pic.twitter.com/roYqcWZ6br</a>—@freesalimaradi
.<a href="https://twitter.com/freesalimaradi">@freesalimaradi</a> is innocent and should not spend another minute in prison.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/may30?src=hash">#may30</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/freedom?src=hash">#freedom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/uae?src=hash">#uae</a> <a href="https://t.co/cJDHNWB5Xn">pic.twitter.com/cJDHNWB5Xn</a>—@freesalimaradi
Alaradi was taken from a hotel room in August 2014 and has been in custody ever since. According to Champ, the businessman manufactures appliances in the U.A.E. and sells them in the Middle East and Africa.
Alaradi's cardiologist in Windsor, Ont., is very concerned about his patient's heart condition, Dr. Wadea Tarhuni says he helped deliver medicine to Alaradi in prison, through the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
As soon as he received of the acquittal Monday morning, Tarhuni caught a flight to Ottawa to personally thank the federal government for it's support throughout the ordeal.
"The least thing we can do is just go and visit the parliament and thank the headquarters of the Canadian government in Ottawa," he said. "So I'm going to get some flowers and thank them."