January 21, 2020

By ANDREW OMRAN

A Canadian man, his wife and two daughters are currently being held in a Saudi prison says Liberal MP, Jim Karygiannas, who is demanding answers as to why the federal government hasn’t done more to help them.

According to an article on 0ct. 6 by CBC, Karygiannas says the children, ages five  and 18 months, are also currently being held for unknown reasons with their parents.

I personally find it absolutely ridiculous that the Saudi government finds it reasonable to imprison children. I am also furious with our federal government because they have done so little to help these people, especially the children.

The family has been living in Saudi Arabia for the last four years and some are arguing that this is a legitimate reason to leave them to the justice system of that country. I, on the other hand, find this explanation to be absurd and unacceptable at least until we discover the reason they were detained in the first place.

I believe the only way it is OK for the parents to be kept in jail is if they committed a legitimate crime, but even in that situation the children should be given to a family member while the parents sort our their legal problems.

Whatever the reasoning that may have led this family to move to another country, whether it was for business or for personal reasons, they at the very least deserve to get their side of the story out to the public.

This is a family of Canadian citizens and deserves just as much protection from our government as you or I.

Numerous attempts by Karygiannas and Minister of State Diane Ablonczy to talk to the jailed couple have failed. However, Ablonczy and Canadian officials have been communicating daily with members of the family in Canada.

Because they have not been able to talk directly to family members in jail, it is impossible for the government to know how they are being treated.

I find it extremely disturbing that the government, which is supposed to be defending its citizens, is not doing all it can to help a family of Canadians in another country.

I hope Ablonczy will be more aggressive in contacting the law officials in Saudi Arabia as to why the family was apprehended in the first place and also in trying to communicate with the family.

Also, if the parents have committed a crime warranting an extended stay in jail, the children need to be handed over to family members, where they can be protected and nurtured.

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