Canadian's attempts to return from Saudi almost land her in prison
Published Tuesday, June 14, 2011 9:36AM EDT
MONTREAL - Montrealer Nathalie Morin, 27, has often likened her existence in Saudi Arabia to being in a prison, and recently she was stuck with the prospect of being behind put in a real prison within the country she wishes to leave.
According to her mother, Johanne Durocher, Saudi police recently questioned Morin and threatened to put her behind bars on the accusation that she tried to kidnap her own children.
"They brought her to the police station, questioned her for two hours and said she tried to kidnap the children," says Durocher.
Durocher was relieved to subsequently learn from Foreign Affairs that the Saudis would lay no charges against her daughter.
According to Saudi Arabia law, a woman is not allowed to travel without permission of her husband, and children can only travel with their father's permission.
In cases of divorce, women are only granted legal custody of children if the father is not a Muslim.
The couple's first child was born in Canada, and two more children were born in Saudi Arabia are eligible for Canadian citizenship.
Morin has been trying to return to Canada with her three children, but their father, Saeed al Bishi also known as Saeed al Sharahni, is not keen on them returning without him. However he says he will allow them to return if he can also come back to Canada to stay.
The case has gained such a high profile that Quebec's National Assembly passed a unanimous resolution two years ago to ask the federal government to work harder to get her returned. This past Friday another motion urging Ottawa to work harder was filed in the National Assembly.
Morin moved to Saudi Arabia six years ago to be with her husband when he was deported from Canada.
Durocher said in 2009 that on previous visits Morin's husband allowed her to travel freely, and told her that she would never be sequestered.
In spite of the attempts to get the wheels turning, the Department of Foreign Affairs has not reported any movement in the case. "This is a complex family matter with no easy solution," the department said in a statement. "We are limited by the laws of Saudi Arabia."
This article has been updated since it originally appeared.