Dutch-Canadian held in Lebanon: 125 days+

29th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Lebanon has been holding a Dutch-born Canadian potato producer for 125 days without  charges. Henk Tepper, one of Canada’s biggest potato producers, was visiting Lebanon with a Canadian trade delegation in March when he was detained on an Interpol arrest warrant.

The warrant was issued in 2007 after Algeria refused a potato shipment saying part of it was contaminated with a disease. After selling the potatoes to Algeria at a loss of 1.3 million Canadian dollars, Mr Tepper took legal action against Algeria. Algeria responded by asking Interpol to arrest Mr Tepper.

The potato producer was not aware he was being sought when he travelled to Lebanon, where he and his father have been doing business for years.

Relatives say he is being held in an hot, overcrowded cell and is not doing well physically or psychologically. They say the Canadian authorities are doing little to secure his release.

His relatives also sought help from the Dutch government, which informed them that the Canadian, Lebanese and Algerian had been contacted, adding nothing more could be done.

Mr Tepper lost his Dutch nationality as a child 32 years ago when he and his parents emigrated to Canada and took Canadian nationality.

The family have launched a Free Henk Tepper page on Facebook.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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