Canadian arrested in Egypt early in 2019 returns home after release, needs medical treatment

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Yasser Albaz, a Canadian engineer who was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of a business trip in February 2019, has been released and is back in Canada but needs medical treatment, his family said on Thursday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in February he had raised the case of Albaz during a meeting in Addis Ababa with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“We are happy to announce that Yasser Albaz has been released by Egyptian authorities and has arrived this morning at Toronto Pearson International Airport,” his daughter Amal Ahmed Albaz said in a statement.

“Yasser’s health has deteriorated and our top priority will be his much needed medical treatment,” she added.

Albaz’s family said last year his passport was confiscated when he attempted to board a flight to Canada and an Egyptian official told him his name had been flagged for a probe.

Sisi has overseen a crackdown on dissent that has targeted liberal opponents as well as the Islamists who briefly held power after the Arab Spring. Tens of thousands of people have been detained.

Neither the Canadian foreign ministry nor the Egyptian embassy in Ottawa were immediately available for comment.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum