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Sister of NB farmer says feds did not do enough


April 2, 2012
By The Canadian Press

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April 2, 2012, Grand Falls, NB – The sister of a New Brunswick potato farmer who spent more than a year in a Lebanese jail on accusations he exported rotten potatoes says she doesn’t believe Ottawa did enough to secure his release.

Hermien Dionne says she is not convinced that the federal government was doing all it could to have Henk Tepper return to Canada.

“I never had any feeling that the Canadian government was doing anything,” she told a news conference. “I always read in the paper that they’re doing things behind closed doors and that is it. So I’m asking the government now to share with the family, to share with the lawyers, what they were doing behind closed doors.

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“I’d like to have some answers right now.”

Tepper, who was not at the news conference, returned to Canada March 31 after being held in custody in Beirut since March 23 of last year.

He was detained on an international arrest warrant on allegations he exported rotten potatoes to Algeria in 2007 and forged export documents.

A spokesman for Diane Ablonczy, the federal minister of state for foreign affairs, issued a statement on the weekend saying “quiet diplomacy” led to Tepper’s release.

Tepper was arrested in Lebanon when he travelled to the Middle East on an agricultural trade mission to promote seed potatoes from Atlantic Canada.


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