March 21, 2012 By The Canadian Press
March 21, 2012, Fredericton, NB – A year after Henk Tepper was detained in a Lebanese prison on accusations he exported rotten potatoes, the family of the Canadian farmer is thanking the public for its support, saying it has helped them remain strong through the ordeal.
The Drummond, N.B., man has been in custody in Beirut since March 23 last year on an international arrest warrant over allegations that potatoes he exported to Algeria in 2007 were rotten.
Algeria also alleges that Tepper forged export documents, but his lawyers have denied all of the allegations.
In a statement March 21, the family said they appreciate that people have kept Tepper in their thoughts and prayers.
“During this difficult year of birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and Christmas without Henk, we have been able to remain strong as a family due to the love and support of friends and strangers alike,” they said.
“For this, our most sincere thank you.”
A number of public rallies in support of Tepper have been held in his home community since he was detained.
Despite being quite vocal in the past, family members are declining interviews this week.
“We also want to thank everyone for respecting our privacy. There will be an appropriate time to speak and we hope that time comes soon.”
Diane Ablonczy, Canada’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said the federal government is working with its diplomatic partners to help secure Tepper’s release.
“Canada’s efforts will not cease until Mr. Tepper is home,” she said in a statement.
Tepper could face up to five years in prison if convicted in Algeria, according to the Interpol Red Notice that was issued for his arrest last year.
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