Vertaling/samengevat: scroll naar beneden

International law expert finds the federal government’s actions ‘confusing’

An expert in international law can’t understand why the Harper government is not acting swiftly to get Henk Tepper back to Canada.

The New Brunswick farmer has spent nine months in a Beirut jail for allegedly exporting bad potatoes to Algeria.

Paul Cavaluzzo, a lawyer, says two Canadian senators have said that Lebanese authorities would release Tepper if Canada sends a letter requesting he be returned. If that’s true, Cavaluzzo says, then Ottawa’s concern about interfering in Lebanon’s judicial system is not a valid one.

“It’s very confusing as to the intransigence they seem to be demonstrating because the Lebanese obviously, I think, are looking for a reason to release Mr. Tepper back to Canada, and what they seem to be waiting for is a letter,” he said.

Cavaluzzo says there’s an even more compelling reason to have Hank Tepper back in Canada.

“The most important fact here is that [the alleged crime] occurred in Canada, by a Canadian. And as a result of that, Canada has jurisdiction if a crime occurred, to prosecute him. He’s a Canadian, he should be prosecuted in Canada,” he said.

Tepper, 44, has been behind bars in Beirut with no charges against him since March. He was arrested on the Interpol warrant while on a trade mission trip sponsored by the Canadian government. He says he was innocent and his lawyers argue that the potatoes were inspected in Canada and met Algerian standards.

Cavaluzzo was involved in the Maher Arar case, which he says was resolved once enough political pressure was put on the federal government. The lawyer believes the same would happen in Henk Tepper’s case.

Vertaling en samengevat: De Canadese regering zou alleen maar een brief hoeven te schrijven met de vraag aan de Libanese regering Henk Vrij te laten. Dat vragen de Libanese regering. Volgens een deskundige over de wet van Canada kan het helemaal niet. De aardappelen zijn goed gekeurd door de Canadese foodinspectie, volgens de Algerijnse normen. Henk kan niet geknoeid hebben met de documenten, want hij was in Canada en niet in Algerije. De RCMP( canadese politie waren op de hoogte) De Canadese regering liet Henk met een delegatie naar Libanon gaan, op kosten van de regering. Deskundigen buigen zich nu over de case.

Ottawa says letter won’t free Henk Tepper

Baird’s office denies claims of legal expert

CBC News

Posted: Dec 22, 2011 1:43 PM ET

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2011 9:29 PM ET

Related

Related Links

P.O.V. : Should the prime minister intervene on Henk Tepper’s behalf

RCMP gave potato farmer’s financial details to Algerians

Tepper farm gets creditor protection extension

Jailed potato farmer in limbo over letter dispute

External Links

Read the Interpol ‘red notice’ for Henk Tepper

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A letter from the federal government counters the claims of an expert in international law about how to free N.B. potato farmer Henk Tepper.

Tepper has spent nine months in a Beirut jail for allegedly exporting bad potatoes to Algeria.

Paul Cavaluzzo, a lawyer, says he can’t understand why the Harper government is not acting swiftly to get Tepper back to Canada.

He also says two Canadian senators have said that Lebanese authorities would release Tepper if Canada sends a letter requesting he be returned. If that’s true, Cavaluzzo says, then Ottawa’s concern about interfering in Lebanon’s judicial system is not a valid one.

“It’s very confusing as to the intransigence they seem to be demonstrating because the Lebanese obviously, I think, are looking for a reason to release Mr. Tepper back to Canada, and what they seem to be waiting for is a letter,” he said.

In a letter originally sent to Senator Pierre Ringuette, then forwarded to CBC News Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy “correct the record regarding incorrect information.”

The letter goes on to say that the Lebanese government has communicated to the government of Canada that “a resolution through the Lebanese legal system is not as simple as sending one letter.”

The government also lays out the work it says it’s done to bring Tepper home, citing the sending of letters and diplomatic notes.

Meanwhile, Cavaluzzo says there’s an even more compelling reason to have Tepper back in Canada.

“The most important fact here is that [the alleged crime] occurred in Canada, by a Canadian. And as a result of that, Canada has jurisdiction if a crime occurred, to prosecute him. He’s a Canadian, he should be prosecuted in Canada,” he said.

Tepper, 44, has been behind bars in Beirut with no charges against him since March 23. He was arrested on the Interpol warrant while on a trade mission trip sponsored by the Canadian government. He says he is innocent and his lawyers argue that the potatoes were inspected in Canada and met Algerian standards.

Cavaluzzo was involved in the Maher Arar case, which he says was resolved once enough political pressure was put on the federal government. The lawyer believes the same would happen in Henk Tepper’s case.