Canadian Embassy Consuls Speak To Natalie Morin
Canadian Woman Will Get Fair Judicial Treatment
13 June 2011
Shaker Qandeel and Michael Ardman, the two consuls of the Canadian Embassy in the Kingdom, refuted the claims of Canadian national Nathalie Maureen, 27, that her Saudi husband tortured her and harmed their children.
Maureen, who is married to a Saudi national, Sa’eed Al-Shahrani, has said she and her family are facing severe financial hardships and that Shahrani rejected her mother’s attempt to take her and the children back to Canada. After their meeting Monday with the director of Dammam Police and members of the team investigating an attempt by two Saudi women to smuggle Maureen to her country’s embassy in Riyadh and then to her country, the consuls told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that she is not suffering from any problems. They said they visited Maureen after learning about the case from the police in Dammam and that they were reassured about her situation.
They confirmed the integrity and justice of the judicial authorities in the Kingdom and that they will be fair to the Maureen. Shaker Qandeel, the Canadian Consul whose tenure has come to an end and Michael Ardman, the new Consul, said they visited Maureen at her house in Dammam and talked to her for two hours.
They listened to her tell her story, which began 10 years ago in Canada, where she met Shahrani, who was later found to have entered the country illegally. Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learned that Maureen has asked her country’s embassy to keep her from going to court if the issue of two women accused of inciting her to escape is brought before the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution.
Maureen reportedly said she fears going to court. She is said to have asked her country’s embassy to write to the Human Rights Commission and ask them to provide her and her children with meals until her case is resolved. Sources told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the case of the two Saudi women, Wajiha Al-Huwaidir and Fouzia Al-Uyooni, who have said they are human rights activists and face charges of kidnapping and smuggling Maureen and her three children has been referred to the BIP.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette has interviewed Maureen, who said her mother tried to take her and her children back to Canada, but her husband did not allow it. “I got married nine years ago and became a Muslim at the hands of my husband. I came to the Kingdom. Despite the difficulties I faced at the beginning of our marriage, I preferred to live with my husband and I was blessed with three children – two sons and one daughter. At the beginning of our marital life, we stayed in Jubail Governorate where my husband was working in a humble job and we could barely make ends meet.
“At this point, difficulties started when my mother began to interfere. She visited us and came to realize the financial hardships I was living in. She tried to take me back to my country so that my children and I could live there, but my husband categorically rejected this.
“We decided to relocate to Dammam, but life was even more difficult. My husband doesn’t have a job and our income is barely SR1,500 so I was forced to request help from my mother, who sends me $200 every week.”Photo Credit: Saudi Gazette/Okaz