November 23, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Khaled Al-Qazzaz’s Appeal Rejected and Medical Condition Worsens
Khaled Al-Qazzaz’s lawyers attended court once again, presenting arguments of Khaled’s arbitrary detention and his deteriorating health. They urged for Khaled’s immediate release. The judge delayed his decision for a number of hours before issuing the decision to reject the appeal and continue the detention. For the last several court appearances, the Canadian embassy has been blocked from monitoring the case.
Khaled remains in critical medical condition and requires urgent surgery to address the disc herniation in his cervical and lumbar spine. However, today Khaled’s family received a medical assessment by a neurosurgeon who informed them that Khaled may also be suffering from damage to his nerves. Khaled is at risk of suffering irreversible damage to his spine, spinal cord and peripheral nerves if left untreated. Although he has been moved to a private hospital for several weeks now, Khaled has yet to receive the medical care he needs and his condition continues to increase in complexity. Khaled needs to be transferred to a medical facility that can provide him with adequate medical care immediately to avoid risk of permanent paralysis.
"I have immense hope that Khaled will be home soon so that my children can enjoy their winter break with their father and we can start a new year as a family.” says Sarah Attia, Khaled's Canadian born wife. Sarah urges the Canadian government to use its diplomatic role with Egypt to secure Khaled's release and reunite him with his family.
Last week marked 500 days of Khaled's detainment without charge. Khaled's family and friends have come together to #PayitForward4KQ with initiatives of kindness and charity on his behalf. On Friday November 21, Khaled’s friends gave out 500 beautiful hand-made bookmarks to University of Toronto students. Each bookmark was printed with one of Khaled's inspiring poems written in 2004 when he was a student at the university.
On Saturday, November 22, Khaled’s family and friends handed out 500 flowers - one flower for each day Khaled has been gone. Memona Hussein, a peer of Khaled’s from the University of Toronto, came out to Toronto’s Dundas Square to pay forward Khaled’s kindness. “Paying it forward is a way to actively keep hope alive. When we spend just a moment to bring a smile on someone's face, it is a reminder. A reminder of who Khaled was each day, a reminder of who Khaled was in our lives, a reminder of how beautiful the human spirit is, and what it means to dedicate your mind, energy and being towards something bigger than one's self. This is the essence of who Khaled is. And if we can spread that and the world can carry it on, it becomes bigger than Khaled himself and this hope in turn keeps us alive and hoping for Khaled's freedoms,” says Memona.
A wonderful day today filled with positive and uplifting responses
UofT Students give out hand-made bookmarks
TheStar – Bitter milestone for Canadian resident in Egyptian jail
Campaign urges acts of kindness on behalf of political prisoner
Pay it Forward for Khaled Al-Qazzaz – Short Film
If you would like to interview Sarah on current developments of Khaled’s case or to cover a pay-it forward initiative please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a permanent resident of Canada and father of four young Canadian children, has been unlawfully detained without charge in Egypt for over 500 days. Khaled 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's health has deteriorated due to the conditions of his detainment and is at risk of permanent paralysis if not provided with appropriate medical care immediately.
Khaled Al-Qazzaz is an acclaimed educator, youth activist and a human rights champion. 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 and international community to urgently assist in securing Khaled’s immediate release.
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