Salim Alaradi's lawyer calling on Canada to secure his client's "immediate release" from UAE

As the trial for Canadian Salim Alaradi is beginning in the United Arab Emirates, his lawyer is calling on the Canadian government to secure his immediate release.

The evidence is based on confessions made under torture, human rights lawyer Paul Champ says

Salim Alaradi, second from right, is a 46-year-old Canadian businessman has spent 17 months in a Middle Eastern Prison and faces several terrorism-related charges. (Alaradi Family/Facebook)

As the trial for Canadian Salim Alaradi moves ahead in the United Arab Emirates, his lawyer is calling on the Canadian government to secure his freedom.

Alaradi had been held without charge for more than 500 days in the Emirates. Late last week, the prosecutor disclosed the prosecution file to Alaradi's lawyer in preparation for Alaradi's next appearance Feb. 15.

"It was really unclear what it was alleging that he actually had done," Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ told CBC News. "Now we have the prosecution file, we've learned more. They're alleging that in 2011 during the [Libyan] revolution to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi, Alaradi was providing support to the militias that were part of that revolution."

Champ said that Alaradi denies ever being involved with those militias and that the prosecution's case is built with confessions made under torture.

"That is the most shocking thing, the entirety of the evidence is based on confessions," Champ said. "Now that we've seen this entire prosecution case is based on confessions tainted by torture, our view is that Canada at the highest levels should be calling for his immediate release."

CBC News has not seen evidence of torture.

Champ said the Canadian government is working on what has become a "political case" and is actively involved. The government has requested that an official be present during Alaradi's trial.

Alaradi was taken from a hotel room in August 2014 and has been in custody ever since, Champ said.

His family has been living in Windsor, Ont. and his daughter Marwa has become an advocate for his release. 

According to Champ, the businessman manufactures appliances in the UAE and sells them in the Middle East and Africa.