The family of a missing Ottawa man is terrified for his safety and is begging the Canadian government to intervene after he vanished last Sunday.
“He was either arrested or kidnapped from the Bahrain airport,” a distraught Sadeq Al Raas, 26, said about his brother, Naser Al Raas, 28.
A Canadian citizen living in Kuwait, Naser Al Raas flew to Bahrain on March 6 to visit his five sisters.
His return flight to Kuwait was booked for March 20.
“We are 100% sure he went to the airport because he spoke to his friend (on the phone) in Kuwait and he got his boarding pass,” he said.
“In Bahrain, every two steps you see 10 cameras. So he can’t disappear, vanish like this.”
Violence has taken over Bahrain as anti-government demonstrators clash with security forces, and Saudi troops have been called in.
What worries the family even more is Naser’s poor health.
“He had problems with his lungs and his heart,” Al Raas said, adding his brother had open heart surgery at the Ottawa Heart Institute about five years ago.
“Time is not on our side,” said Al Raas.
That’s why their mother — who has leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy — is near hysterics.
She’s so distraught over her son’s disappearance, she wants to stop the treatment.
“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I don’t know (is) my son alive, dead? He took his medicine?” said Badriyah Hasan.
A mother of 11, Hasan is pleading for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to help get her other kids out of Bahrain.
“I have five daughters — two pregnant. One is bleeding and there is no hospital. Please, from my heart,” she said at her Overbrook home in Ottawa’s east side.
She breaks down constantly, sobbing and wiping tears from her blue eyes.
“I want them to be safe, I want transportation for them to the airport,” she said.
They can pay for their own airfare to Kuwait but just need an escort “to make sure they leave the airport, because my brother was at the airport and look at him,” said Al Raas.
Hasan covers her face with both hands.
She points to the TV where news reports from Bahrain say doctors and nurses are being killed.
There’s one hospital in the country, she said, and it’s been shut down.
Telephones at the house keep ringing and with each call comes hope.
The missing man has two cellphones and usually spoke to his family in Ottawa every two or three days.
They’ve been calling both lines every 30 minutes.
“One was not answering and then both of them had been switched off again,” said Al Raas, adding they’ve bought more than 100 calling cards since Sunday.
Meanwhile DFAIT spokesman Alain Cacchione confirmed a Canadian has been reported missing in Bahrain.
“I want Foreign Affairs to classify my brother as kidnapped from the Bahrainian authorities. We just want to know where he is, alive, dead, even if he’s dead,” said Al Raas.