Family members of the ousted Tunisian dictator, General Zine el-Abidin Ben Ali have arrived in Montreal, Canada even as France and the US have refused them entry.
Family members of the ousted Tunisian dictator, General Zine el-Abidin Ben Ali have arrived in Montreal, Canada even as France and the US have refused them entry. Sakhr el-Materi married to Ben Ali’s daughter, Nasrine, who gained notoriety for importing ice cream by specially chartered plane while people in Tunisia suffered because of massive unemployment, owns a mansion in Montreal’s Westmount neighbourhood. It was purchased for $2.5 million in 2008 and is currently undergoing renovations.
Members of the Tunisian Canadian community are outraged at the arrival of these people in Canada and have demanded the government provide information about who is here and why. Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney admitted on television “a couple of members of his [Ben Ali’s] family who are already Canadian permanent residents, which gives them a legal right to be here,” are in the country.
Other reports say at least five relatives of Ben Ali, including a brother-in-law, landed in Montreal on January 20, although their whereabouts are unknown. How and why they were permitted entry is unclear since Canada requires non-residents to prove they will return to their country of origin before being granted permission to enter.
Swiss authorities meanwhile have announced freezing at least $620 million stashed by the Ben Ali clan in Swiss bank accounts. The US has also frozen their assets. Canada has not followed suit yet. One wonders why?