Monday, February 23, 2004

Helmy Elsherief

An Egyptian-born Canadian man is being held by Egypt, possibly at the request of another country:

Conflicting reports as to why Egyptian authorities detained a Canadian citizen claim he is being held and questioned as a favour to a "foreign government" or because he is considered a threat to national security.

Sources familiar with the case say Egyptian-born Helmy Elsherief, 63, is being held under Egypt's emergency law and authorities allege he belongs to a "dangerous extremist element" — claims that kept another Canadian behind bars for more than two years before his release in Cairo last month.

But Elsherief's relatives in Cairo have been told Egyptian state security is "asking him a couple questions for a foreign government," according to his daughter Heba, 30 "They're being told they're holding him because of some foreign government, as a favour," she said from her Scarborough home yesterday.

She dismissed allegations her father is in an extremist group. "That's just crazy. My father can't get to the end of the street without driving his car. He has never been affiliated with any group ... his entire life."


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