July 15, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15 Parliament Hill Press Conference:
Canadians Urge Prime Minister to Intervene
Today, prominent Canadians stood alongside Canadian Sarah Attia in a press conference at Parliament Hill and presented an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the situation of Khaled Al-Qazzaz.
RochTasse, Alex Neve, and Monia Mazigh, signatories of the letter, each shared aspects of the letter and all urged Prime Minister Harper to intervene and end the ordeal that Khaled, Sarah and their four children have lived through for the last 11 months.
“Thank you to the many Canadian lawyers, academics, authors, and activist [signatories] for your support and for standing alongside my family to call for an end to this injustice” said Sarah Attia. The names of the 129 leading Canadians and 6 organizations who signed the letter can be found on the campaign web page.
“Make no mistake; silence on the part of the Canadian government is not neutral. Canada’s failure to intervene at a political level risks sending a message that Canada is essentially unconcerned” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
Khaled’s permanent resident status “may mean that it’s more difficult for Canada to gain access, it should not at all dictate what action Canada takes on the case, how clearly and forcefully Canada raises it, how regularly senior levels from the foreign minister, from the prime minister himself,” said Alex Neve.
In the open-letter signatories including Canadian academics, lawyers, professionals, authors, artists, celebrities, writers, thinkers, activists and organizations have collectively asserted that “we believe that Canada cannot be silent any longer.We are now calling upon you, Prime Minister, to take prompt and meaningful action.”
Dr. Mazigh, the wife of Maher Arar, a Canadian who was previously detained abroad, commented on Khaled's 380-day long detention:. “Khaled Al-Qazzaz has been in solitary confinement for more than a year. Solitary confinement is the worst kind of psychological torture. My husband went through this ordeal and today he still bears the consequences. When the Canadian government of the time spoke with one strong voice to the Syrian voice my husband was released shortly after,” said Dr. Mazigh.
The open-letter has been published with The Star in an opinion piece. A video of the press conference can be found on the campaign's official YouTube channel.
Letter and Signatories
Press Conference Video
The Star – Stephen Harper, Khaled Al-Qazzaz needs your help
CTV - Al-Qazzaz jailed in Egypt: Harper urged to intervene
Sun News - Family of Permanent Canadian Resident Jailed in Cairo Asks For Government's Help
Sarah Attia can be reached for questions and clarifications on her husband’s ordeal.
Call to Action
Supporters of the Free Khaled Al-Qazzaz Campaign are calling on Canadians to mail postcards to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird.
Print and mail your postcard or use our online form and we will send it for you.
Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a permanent resident of Canada and father of four young Canadian children, has been unlawfully detained in Egypt for over 378days. He has been held without charges for overone year now. Khaled currently spends his days and nights in solitary confinement in a cramped insect infested cell slightly larger than a broom closet in one of Egypt’s most notorious prisons.
Khaled Al-Qazzazis an acclaimed educator, youth activist, human rights champion and revolutionist. Khaled was a staffer, bureaucrat and civil servant of a democratically elected government and he exercised his rights to freedom of expression and association peacefully.
Toronto-born Sarah Attia, Khaled’s wife, has been calling on the Canadian government for help for over two months but little progress has been made.
Further information can be found at:
- 30 –
For more information: