Free Khaled Al-Qazzaz

Reflections from Sarah

Another holiday season without Khaled

Reflections from SarahSarah Attia

Tomorrow is the last day of school, but my kids are hardly looking forward to the winter break. This time is especially difficult for them as they had high hopes of being able to the enjoy the holiday season with their father at home. But instead, Khaled remains imprisoned in hospital, unable to receive the medical care and attention that he needs while going through endless cycles of court hearings and appeals and delayed decisions. For the third time this month, a judge has ruled to delay decision on Khaled's case and has postponed his hearing to December 23. And of course, there continue to be no charges brought against Khaled. 

These cycles are taking a toll on our family, especially during this season when families normally come together. My kids ask if we can go see their father, but because of heightened security concerns in Egypt, I have to tell them it is not possible. But I keep up hope by reminding my children of all the goodness that is spreading because people are choosing to pay forward their father's kindness in his absence. Today, I received news that Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (English branch), has made a donation to the Canadian Centre for International Justice, in honour of Khaled’s commitment to social justice. Back in 2003, when Khaled and I were students at the University of Toronto, Khaled founded "Students for World Justice,” a student club intended to raise awareness about injustices around the world and to work towards alleviating them. During our time in Egypt as well, he educated students on human rights and social justice in hopes of building a new generation of Egyptians who valued these fundamental moral principles. 

So although Khaled may not be home for the holidays, I remind my kids that we can continue to do the things that he would have done with us if he was here -- spread peace, love, hope, and joy amongst our family, friends, neighbours, and community.

Pay it forward for Khaled

Campaign News, Reflections from SarahSarah Attia

Sarah Attia is back at the University of Toronto, where her story with Khaled Al-Qazzaz began. They first met on campus while studying for their masters. 10 years after their marriage and 4 kids later, she’s back at U of T – but for a very different reason.

Khaled has been #Gone500Days, held without charge. Khaled is a human rights activist, a social reformer, and an inspirational educator.

Because Khaled has been imprisoned for the last 500 days, he has not been able to give charity, spread his positive message of hope, or give Sarah and her family the love they deserve.

In the spirit of all the positive and charitable acts Khaled constantly did for our family and those around him, we have come together to pay forward Khaled’s kindness, generosity and dedication with random acts of kindness and generosity. 

It’s our hope that all of those touched by Khaled’s story, or those on the receiving end of the pay-it-forward initiatives will pay this small kindness forward to someone else in celebration of Khaled’s legacy. 

We ask that anyone who has been touched by Khaled’s kindness or by his story, to pay it forward on his behalf. Do something kind or generous for your neighbour, a local charity, or even a stranger. Then tell us about it by posting on social media using our hashtags: #Gone500Days #PayitForward4KQ

If you want to organize a pay it forward initiative in your neighbourhood, at your school or within your community, send us a message and we’ll help you set it up!


"My Husband's Been Detained in Egypt 320 Days Without Charge"

Reflections from SarahSarah Attia

Sarah Attia, Khaled Al-Qazzaz's wife, writes a strong and poignant piece on the Huffington Post about her illegally imprisoned husband:

"Khaled has been detained in Egypt without charge for over 320 days. He is being held in the country's most notorious jail - Tora Prison. He is trapped for 23 hours of the day in solitary confinement, spending his time in a two meter by two meter insect-infested cell with blood stains on the walls. His health is quickly deteriorating.

"If in 2011 you asked me how likely it was that Egypt could flourish as a healthy democracy, I would have shown you a picture of my husband and my eldest son, Abdelrahman, now eight, cheering among millions of other protesters in Egpyt's Tahrir Square. I would have told you that I was there too, demanding the resignation of a brutal dictator. When Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down, I would have told you that democracy no longer seemed like a dream - it was an attainable reality and it was at our fingertips.

"I could never have imagined that just two years later I would be living this nightmare."

Happy 10 years to Khaled & Sarah

Reflections from SarahSarah Attia

A beautiful and hopeful message from Khaled's wife, Sarah Attia, on the occasion of their 10 year anniversary:

"Today I got a call from Khaled's lawyer and the first thing he said was 'happy anniversary.' He had seen Khaled this morning in a prison visit, and Khaled passed that message on to me. Today is our 10 year anniversary, and Khaled remembered.

"10 years of personal development, activism, a growing family, many ups and downs, and a lot of happiness. On this day 10 years ago, we made a commitment to God to make a difference in this world, and we continue to try. Although we are so far apart, divided by oceans and bars of oppression, our minds and hearts will be forever united. 

"Happy 10 years Khaled. I have learned so much from you and continue to learn from your strength, wisdom, and passion for life. I pray that you spend today with some kind of inner tranquility and peace of mind. I will not rest until you are free and back in your family’s arms."

Today is Abdelrahman's 8th Birthday

Reflections from SarahSarah Attia

We received a note today from Khaled's wife, Sarah:

"Today is Abdelrahman's 8th Birthday. 

Abdelrahman will spend today struggling to understand why his father and grandfather will not be here for his birthday.  Why they will not be with him on his special day to wish him a happy birthday, eat from his cake and take him to buy a gift like every year. 

Abdelrahman will struggle, for another day, to understand why his father has been taken from him for the last 300 days. 

Abdelrahman is among tens of thousands of Egyptian children who have had someone in their family murdered, kidnapped, or arrested.

But, Abdelrahman is not a number.  He is a bubbly little boy who is smart, inquisitive, energetic, and creative.  He is a little boy who loves Egypt and misses his father tremendously."