December 23, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Khaled Al-Qazzaz Detainment Renewed while Pay-It-Forward Grows
Family and friends have been praying that they would celebrate news of Khaled Al-Qazzaz's release today. Unfortunately, Khaled continues to be arbitrarily detained without charge. The presiding judge decided to renew Khaled's detainment for another 45 days.
After 1 year, 5 months and 21 days, Khaled continues to be the longest detained political prisoner in Egypt. It is clear that a change in the political intervention and diplomacy of Canada and the international community is required in order to bring an end to this ordeal.
On a difficult day for Khaled, his family, friends and supporters, we continue t receive messages of hope by more generous pay-it-forward initiatives.
Donna Slaight, of the Slaight Family Foundation, and a great Canadian philanthropist, has donated towards Save the Children’s work in Egypt helping orphaned children and children born into poverty. Her donation is in honor of Khaled’s work to establish an orphan sponsorship program at the University of Toronto in 2003, and the educational and social projects for young Egyptians he and his wife, Sarah Attia, worked on during their time in Egypt.
James Lockyer, a founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted and a prominent social justice activist in Canada, hasmade a donation to the Riverdale Shore Community Association for those in need in the RiverdaleToronto Community. His donation is in honor of Khaled’s care for the needy. While Khaled was at University of Toronto, he spearheaded inter-faith sandwich runs for Toronto’s homeless.
Jasmine Herlt, Canada Director of Human Rights Watch, has made a donation to WAR CHILD in honour of Khaled’s commitment to education of children in war torn areas.
Family and friends who initiated the winter clothing drive for Toronto’s homeless aimed to collect 500 winter items. This weekend they concluded the drive with a final count of 2606 winter items including jackets, sweaters, mitts, hats, trousers and shirts for both adults and children. These items will be distributed in partnership with New Circles, an agency that offersa clothing program to residents in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park and Victoria Village neighbourhoods.
Many others are inspired by the pay-it-forward campaign and are reaching out to join and give in whatever way they can. A Heart and Stroke Foundation certified instructor has announced that she will offer CPR training to 50 individuals free of cost. Another generous supporter has decided to help a widow in Pakistan pay for her daughter’s marriage.
Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (English branch), has donated to the Canadian Centre for International Justice, in honor of Khaled Al-Qazzaz’s commitment to social justice
Cecilia Greyson, writer, artist and sister of John Greyson, a previously detained Canadian in Egypt, has donated to Amnesty and HRW, in honor of Khaled's commitment to human rights
Erna Paris, an author, historian and journalist, has donated to World Federation Movement-Canada, in honor of Khaled's commitment to social justice and democracy
Dr. John Esposito, a university professor and founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, has donated to Amnesty/HRW/SPLC, in honor of Khaled's commitment to human rights
Peter Larson, Vice-chair, Middle East Study Group, Canadian International Council (National Capital Region), has donated to University ofToronto's orphanage sponsorship program, in honor of Khaled establishing it in 2003
Sarah Leah Whitson,the Executive Director Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, has donated to New York public schools, in honor of Khaled's commitment to education
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 500days. Khaled spent 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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