Canada needs to bring Mr. El Attar home


Canada needs to bring Mr. El Attar home

Non-partisan coalition calls on the Government of Canada to take the steps necessary to secure Mohamed El Attar’s release from prison and return to Canada.

Watch The March 9 news conference.

OTTAWA – One Free World International held a news conference in Ottawa today calling on the federal government to act to bring Mohamed El Attar home to Canada. Wrongfully convicted on trumped up charges of spying for Israel in 2007, Mr. El Attar has been languishing in Egyptian prison.

After nearly a decade behind bars, Canadians are speaking out to renew the effort to advocate for his release and return him home to Canada. OFWI is calling on the Government of Canada to:

  1. Fight for Mr. El Attar’s rights and request his immediate release from Egypt and return to Canada.
  2. Update Canadians on their effort to secure Mr. El Attar’s release.
  3. Commit to advocating for Mr. El Attar’s rights and release at all meetings and forums where Canada engages with Egyptian government.

One Free World International, led by President and Founder Majed El Shafie was supported at the news conference by a non-partisan distinguished group of parliamentarians and retired public officials:

  • Hon. Peter Kent, PC, MP, Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic
  • Hélène Laverdière, MP, NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs
  • Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
  • Hon. Irwin Cotler, PC, OC, Founder & Chair of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Former Attorney General of Canada & Minister of Justice
  • Andy Ellis, retired Assistant Director, Operations, CSIS


Mohamed El-Attar Biographical History

  • Born in 1970 in Cairo, Egypt.
  • In 2001, El Attar was arrested in Cairo after crashing a car.
  • In 2002 he sought asylum in Turkey and was resettled to Canada as a UNHCR refugee.
  • Worked as a CIBC bank teller in Toronto.

15 Year Prison Sentence – Convicted of Spying for Israel

In 2007, El Attar flew to Egypt to see family and friends but was promptly arrested upon his arrival on trumped up charges of spying for the Israelis.

On April 20, 2007 he was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in Egyptian prison.

The trial took place in a secret National Security court, which has been widely decried by rights activists in Egypt who generally support trying civilians in proper criminal courts where they have the right to appeal.

There is no possibility for appeal in his case, and now only a pardon from the Egyptian President would change the fate of El Attar.

Forced Confession Under Torture

His lawyer stated that El Attar confessed when the Egyptian authorities presented him with copious amounts of evidence against him. El Attar later stated that he confessed only after days of torture. Allegedly he was forced to drink his own urine, was given electro-shock therapy, and his family in Egypt was threatened. There is no official evidence that El Attar was tortured, even though tactics such as torture are commonly used in Egypt. El Attar’s conviction was exclusively based on his confession extracted through torture.

In an interrogation transcript, El Attar allegedly admits that he was paid $500 for each espionage report he filed on the Toronto Arab community. Allegedly, El Attar was prompted by Israeli authorities in Turkey to convert to Christianity and to help recruit people to spy on Egypt. According to El Attar’s lawyer, there is little evidence against him in this case.