Supporters of Canadian detained in Oman appeal to Prime Minister to halt imminent extradition to UAE
As the imminent extradition of Canadian citizen André Gauthier to the UAE grows nearer, the 65 year old’s son Alexis, human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, and MP Richard Martel appealed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for urgent intervention.
“Canadian consular staff visited my father weeks ago in Oman, and I have been promised diplomatic representation by our government on behalf of my father ever since his detention,” Alexis said. “But nothing has materialised until now. The order for his extradition has already been issued by the Omani Public Prosecutor, and nothing can save him from being sent back to the UAE except political intervention. We have nowhere left to turn but to appeal to the Prime Minister.”
MP Richard Martel, who has been vocal in his concern for Andre’s safety, wrote, “Mr. Prime Minister, that it is now urgent to act. As the representative of the Canadian government, we must ensure that our citizens are safe. This is not currently the case for Mr. Gauthier.
“As Prime Minister, I know that you are sensitive to the issue of human rights and I am sure that the case of Mr. Gauthier challenges you. It is also a case on which the Omani government will probably be ready to discuss with you since you are not unaware that this country wants to open more on the West and attract tourists and investors.”
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who represent André, has also written to Mr. Trudeau, explaining the severe human rights dangers he would face if extradited, “I have personally dealt with over 10,000 cases in the UAE over the past twelve years, and have appeared as an expert witness in dozens of extradition cases, offering testimony to highlight the systematic human rights violations, denial of due process, judicial bias, and severe abuses committed against foreign nationals by UAE law enforcement”, she wrote.
André was a minority shareholder in Gold AE, the largest gold investment firm in the Emirates in its day, but he soon discovered that investor funds were being misappropriated on a massive scale. After bringing the matter to the attention of Gold AE’s chairman, most of the company’s management abruptly fled the country. Andre was subsequently tasked with trying to recover the tens of millions of dollars lost in the fraud, and filed police complaints against the alleged perpetrators.
From overseas, members of the former management contacted Gold AE clients and urged them to press charges against the company's remaining executives over the scandal, including André. He was eventually taken into custody for the crime he had exposed, and stayed in detention without charge for over a year.
Finally reconciling himself with the impossibility of a fair hearing in the UAE, André set about returning to Canada via Oman. He was stopped by immigration officials, however, as he was about to depart, and has been detained ever since, pending extradition proceedings to the Emirates.
In his letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Alexis wrote, “I appeal to you, Prime Minister Trudeau, to personally intervene with officials both in Oman and in the UAE, to prevent this grave miscarriage of justice from proceeding, and to bring my father home safely.”
His lawyer in Oman reports that Andre could face deportation to the Emirates this week in the absence of diplomatic intervention.
“We have been informed that Andre has already been slated for repatriation to the UAE this coming Wednesday,” Stirling said. “Only direct political intervention by the Canadian government can delay the execution of the extradition order, to allow the two governments to reach a resolution. There are multiple precedents internationally, and even in Oman, in which extradition of a foreign national is refused, and they are allowed to return to their country of citizenship, where the extradition request can then be considered by their own government. However, in all such cases, the decisive factor has been the active involvement of their country’s diplomatic personnel. It is unacceptable that the Canadian government has failed until now to sufficiently support Andre, and it is urgent at this point for them to step in to protect their citizen.”
Radha Stirling, is founder and CEO of UK / USA based legal and human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, Expert Witness and respected analyst of Middle East Policy.
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