Quebecer Toufik Benhamiche is still not allowed to leave Cuba even though the country’s highest court has overturned his conviction for criminal negligence causing death. The Canadian Press.

Wife of Canadian man confined in Cuba considering legal action against Ottawa

Tourist confined in Cuba considers more legal action

The wife of a Quebec man who has been stuck in Cuba for 14 months after being involved in a boating accident that killed a fellow tourist says she’s considering taking legal action against the Canadian government in a bid to help bring him home.

Kahina Bensaadi said Cuban authorities have refused to allow her husband to return to his home near Montreal even though a conviction and four-year sentence stemming from the accident were overturned and he is no longer in custody.

Her husband, Toufik Benhamiche, was driving a small boat as part of a tourist excursion in July 2017 in Cayo Coco when it veered out of control and fatally struck a woman from Ontario.

A Cuban court found the Mascouche resident guilty of criminal negligence causing death and sentenced him to four years in prison.

But in June, Cuba’s highest court found flaws in the lower court’s handling of the case and reversed all its decisions including the conviction, Bensaadi said.

But the decision means the case needs to be reinvestigated from the beginning, which could take months or even years in the Cuban justice system.

Bensaadi, who is struggling to care for the couple’s two young daughters, says she’s angry and disappointed that the Canadian government hasn’t done more to help despite her constant pleas.

“They have never deigned to lift a finger, not even to help us in the choice of a competent lawyer to represent us,” she wrote in an email.

“We had no choice but to fend for ourselves, because in any case all our attempts to solicit their help proved futile, and all ended with emails (or) letters stripped of compassion to tell us that they can do absolutely nothing and that Cuban justice must follow its course.”

Human rights lawyer Julius Grey, who is representing the family, said they will decide in the next week whether to seek a declaratory action “similar to Khadr,” referring to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled the Canadian-born Khadr’s human rights were being violated at Guantanamo Bay.

Bensaadi said the possible legal action would be aimed at compelling the Canadian government to meet what she sees as their obligations to help her husband.

“I find it deplorable to have to think about starting a legal proceeding against one’s own government to oblige them to give assistance when that would normally be their primary mandate,” she said.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that it is providing assistance to Benhamiche, “a Canadian facing travel restrictions in Cuba.”

“Consular officials in Havana, Cuba, are in contact with local authorities to gather further information on the status of his case,” reads an emailed statement.

The family has also filed a lawsuit in Canada against travel company Sunwing, alleging Benhamiche was given little instruction on how to operate the craft and was allegedly assured it was easy to use and by no means dangerous.

Related: Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash returning home

Related: Pair of Metro Vancouver police officers arrested, released, in Cuba

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Community artists, amateurs wanted to create Kent anniversary logo

The 125th anniversary committee is hoping to choose a logo designed by the community

Kent to weigh in on ride-sharing policies

The district will be submitting comments to the province on what ride sharing should look like

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Enrolment, EA increases make for no surprises in updated school district budget

The budget reflects changes that were made after recieving provincial funds in December

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

VIDEO: Koch’s OT winner sends Giants to sixth straight victory

Three games, three cities, three victories for Lower Mainland-based G-Men’s major junior hockey team.

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Most Read