An Ottawa man is alive after he went missing from an airport in Bahrain three months ago.
But after being jailed and tortured, Naser Al Raas is now being charged with kidnapping — a crime his family says he didn’t commit — and if convicted faces 15 to 20 years behind bars.
“They (secret police) kidnapped my brother and now they’re accusing him of kidnapping someone,” Sadeq Al Raas, 26, told the Sun over the phone from Kuwait.
His brother, 28, is a Canadian citizen living in Kuwait and flew to Bahrain on March 6 to visit his sisters.
His return flight to Kuwait was booked for March 20 but he vanished from the airport.
Sadeq Al Raas said he was happy to find out his brother is still alive, but horrified to learn what he’s been through.
“If you take off his shirt, there are scars on his back,” said Al Raas.
“They tortured him.”
Naser Al Raas told his brother he was thrown underground, in what he calls “the worst month of my life.”
He was released on April 20 and is currently living with his sister in Bahrain.
But his identification, cellphones, and Canadian passport have all been confiscated.
“Police told him not to contact the Canadian embassy and not to say he was arrested,” said Sadeq Al Raas.
But six weeks later, three charges, including kidnapping, were laid against him and a group of about 10 others.
The family has requested help from several human rights organizations.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is aware of a Canadian citizen who was detained and is currently prevented from leaving Bahrain,” wrote spokeswoman Priya Sinha.
“Consular officials in Ottawa and at the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) are in contact with local authorities and are providing consular assistance.”
The Canadian embassy in Riyadh has assisted, Al Raas said, but now tell him they can’t do anything because Al Raas is being charged in a military court.
Martial law was declared a few months ago after the country was taken over by Saudi troops.
Last week, the U.S. presented a list of countries violating human rights to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Bahrain made the cut.
Sadeq Al Raas is in Kuwait and said he won’t enter Bahrain to try to save his brother.
“To tell you the truth, I am afraid to go there,” he said.