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

Another Surrey mayoral candidate wants to ‘pause’ LRT plans

Hayne and his Integrity Now team join other candidates who aren’t sold on the city’s light rail plans

Teen stabbed at Surrey’s Unwin Park

17 year old was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

North Delta teacher nominated for provincial award

Seaquam Secondary’s Michael Iachetta has been nominated for his work on social equity in schools

No WorkSafeBC orders issued after ruptured water main damaged White Rock theatre

Investigation confirms that the water line ruptured as a result of pressure testing

City offering relief for North Delta residents affected by Surrey townhouse fire

Delta will waive fees and expedite permits for those rebuilding from the July 5 blaze

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

B.C.’s FATSO peanut butter to appear on Dragon’s Den

The Victoria company will be featured on the Sept. 27 episode of the popular show highlighting Canadian businesses

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

Porsche impounded for going 138 km/hr in 90 zone during charity rally

West Vancouver Police said wet roads and heavy rain made it extra dangerous

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Phase 2 of $1.35B Royal Columbian upgrades won’t be a public-private partnership

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says it will be a design-build

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Most Read