A Calgary father accused of kidnapping his daughter and hiding her with family in Iraq must take seven steps to have her returned or he could be kept behind bars indefinitely.
Ali Al Aazawi, 38, is charged with international kidnapping and parental abduction.
He is accused of bringing his 11-year-old daughter Zahraa Al Aazawi to Egypt and then leaving her with family in Iraq. This is in breach of a family court order that said the child was to be returned to her mother in September 2018.
In April, Al Aazawi was arrested when he returned to Canada without his daughter.
Aside from his criminal charges, Al Aazawi was to face a contempt hearing before Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Willie deWit on Wednesday.
Instead, deWit has given the father a chance to bring the child back to Calgary by giving him a list of seven steps to take in order to avoid being found in contempt.
“Hopefully, the child will be back, that’s the bottom line here,” said deWit.
Al Aazawi’s family lawyer, Brendan Miller, and Erika Gordon, who represents the girl’s mother, Zanaib Mahdi, appeared before deWit and agreed to prepare the order, which will be served to the accused, who is being held at the Calgary Remand Centre.
The judge has ordered Al Aazawi to complete the following steps.
- The child’s Canadian passport must be provided or its location disclosed.
- A letter of consent for the child to travel to Canada must be provided by Al Aazawi.
- Al Aazawi must provide or disclose the location of his Iraqi identification.
- Al Aazawi must purchase a flight ticket for his daughter.
- A family member must accompany the girl to the airport in Iraq for her safety and well-being.
- Al Aazawi must disclose the geographical location of Zahraa in Iraq, including an address and telephone number to the girl’s mother and the Canadian government.
- Al Aazawi must disclose any family law court orders obtained in Iraq or any other country outside of Canada to Ms. Mahdi and the Canadian government.
Another contempt hearing has been set for later this month when another judge will confirm whether Al Aazawi has completed the list.
If Al Aazawi is found in contempt, he can be kept in custody until the child is returned to Canada.
Domestic abuse allegations
In June 2018, Al Aazawi brought his 11-year-old daughter to Egypt with an agreement in place between the girl’s parents that the father would return to Calgary with her on Sept. 5, 2018.
In April, Al Aazawi returned to Canada without his daughter.
When he arrived at the Toronto airport, Al Aazawi was arrested and escorted by police back to Calgary.
In 2012, Al Aazawi’s wife sought an emergency protection order, alleging physical and psychological abuse.
Mahdi told police at the time that her husband had broken her nose and finger, burned her shoulder with a searing-hot knife he pressed onto her skin, and had once given her a black eye.
Al Aazawi’s mother lived with the couple at the time and had also allegedly attacked Mahdi. The mother-in-law, whom Mahdi said she did not trust, has since returned to Iraq.
In an affidavit filed at the Calgary courthouse, Al Aazawi denied the abuse.
A bail hearing was to take place earlier this week but was cancelled as defence lawyer Tonii Roulston awaits the outcome of her client’s criminal charges.
Prosecutor Ryan Persad has previously said he intends to oppose Al Aazawi’s release.
Source: Meghan Grant CBC Calgary reporter