Mascouche woman awaits husband's return from Cuba after conviction overturned
Published Thursday, July 12, 2018 4:56PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2018 5:55PM EDT
It was supposed to be a relaxing family vacation in Cuba, but for a family in Mascouche, it’s been a nightmare.
Touffik Benhamiche, a father of two, was charged with criminal negligence after a fatal boating accident killed an Ontario woman last year.
Even though that ruling was overturned, Bensaadi still can’t leave the country.
Wife Kahina Bensaadi, without her husband for over a year now, says Benhamiche is a dedicated father who used to help out with their two children.
“They don’t understand why he won’t come back,” Bensaadi explained. “They miss him very much.”
In July 2017, the family went on a boating excursion while on vacation in Cuba.
Benhamiche lost control of the boat, and ultimately killed a woman. He was eventually found guilty of criminal negligence causing death, and sentenced to four years in prison.
But the ruling was overturned on appeal, because the appeal judge found flaws in the lower court’s handling of the case.
That’s the good news – except Benhamiche isn’t allowed to leave Cuba because the case is still being reviewed by the prosecution.
As a result, Bensaadi and others are appealing to the Federal Government to help out.
In a statement, Global Affairs Canada said “consular officials in Havana, Cuba, are in contact with local authorities to gather further information on the status of his case.”
In the meantime, Bensaadi says the wait is overwhelming: facing the financial responsibility, taking care of two daughters, continuing to work, and working to defend her husband all at once, she says.